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How much energy do data centers in Sweden use then? A drop in the bucket

A drop in the bucket

How much energy do data centers in Sweden use then? The report "Energy Use in Data Centers and Digital System", written by us at RISE data center ICE, was recently released for the Swedish Energy Agency. Here we figure out how much energy that is used!

Sweden is an attractive destination for investment in data centers due to its cool climate, reliable power supply, skilled work force, and well-developed broadband infrastructure. However, recent changes in tax legislation have affected the country's reputation for political stability.

So, how many data centers are there in Sweden?

According to a 2020 report by Radar, there were 2,275 data centers, compared to 3,150 in 2016 as estimated by the Boston Consulting Group. The trend is a decrease in small data centers ( less than 0.3 MW) and an increase in very large data centers (more than 10 MW), with eight hyper-scale data centers in 2020, and 11 as of 2022. Microsoft has opened three new data centers in Gävle/Sandviken, while Amazon Web Services and Eco Datacenter are now more fully utilized.

Energy use development

The total energy use for data centers in Sweden was estimated at 2.4 TWh per year with an average power of 276 MW in 2020 by Radar, which is just 0.5% of the country's total energy use of 532 TWh. In comparison, the industry used around 140 TWh, so I think data centers are a drop in the bucket. Radar's estimates for the total number of data centers and their size distribution seem balanced and reasonable.

What about energy use now?

To predict energy consumption, Radar estimated a 13% annual growth rate in MW. This growth rate is higher than the global average of 1.5-8% reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA) from 2015 to 2021, despite a 260% increase in computational loads. Using IEA's growth rate as a baseline, the estimated increase in energy consumption from 2020 to 2022 in Sweden is 2.8 TWh for an 8% annual growth rate, while Radar's 13% average annual growth rate results in 3.2 TWh per year for 2022.

However, the growth rate for hyperscale data centers in Sweden seems still higher than the global average, as AWS is fully operational, four new Microsoft facilities are coming online, and cloud and HPC loads are migrating from other parts of Europe. It makes me think the energy use now year 2022 is closer to 3.2 TWh per year.

Overall, the data center market in Sweden is thriving, and it is expected to continue growing in the future, I believe. The country's favorable conditions make it an attractive destination for both local and international investors. However, policymakers need to address the recent changes in tax legislation to ensure that Sweden maintains its reputation as a politically stable location for data centers, I think.

RISE will be happy to help you

We at ICE data center are happy to help you if more questions about data centers and energy use come up—please get in touch if you have any questions!

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