Data centers in Iceland? Yes, really!

The country’s year-round cool climate and abundant supply of cheap, renewable energy make it a natural for data center siting -- or so Iceland’s boosters hope.

Companies in search of stable, inexpensive energy to power their data needs are looking beyond the borders of their own countries these days. Those willing to look really far might consider harboring their strategic assets in Iceland.

Or such is the hope of Landsvirkjun, the national power company of Iceland.

Landsvirkjun executives joined an Icelandic contingent that traveled earlier this month to Boston and Cambridge, Mass., as part of a city-to-city exchange of ideas on energy innovation hosted by the MIT Media Lab and MIT's City Science Initiative.

Iceland supporters made the case that the country's year-round cool climate and abundant variety of low-cost, renewable energy sources make it an attractive site for data centers.

"Our power generation in Iceland is predominantly based on hydropower, but we are increasingly building out into geothermal turbines and now wind farms as well," says  Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, EVP of business development at Landsvirkjun. "Because all of these options are renewable, Iceland is able to make long-term agreements at fixed prices. And we're not influenced by the changes in commodity markets -- oil or gas or coal -- which gives our clients great visibility into the future."

That value proposition made sense to Verne Global, a UK-based provider of offshore data centers that has partnered with Landsvirkjun to build a 45-acre state-of-the-art data center on a former NATO base just west of Reykjavik, an area protected from seismic activity.

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