Microsoft announces 100% renewable datacentre region in Sweden

On top of investment and skilling, region dubbed a “game-changer” in sustainable transformation.
By Sophie Porter
01:25 AM
Microsoft, renewable energy

Credit: Jeenah Moon, Getty Images

Microsoft has confirmed plans to launch a world-class sustainable datacentre region in Sweden in 2021. The region, which will include three datacentres, will be powered by 100% renewable energy and will deliver Microsoft Cloud services across Sweden to support businesses with advanced connectivity, data privacy and security. This will see the enhancement of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare operations, as well as benefiting medtech and telehealth users and businesses based in Sweden.

The Cloud region will deliver Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, all in compliance with GDPR.

The announcement is the next stage in Microsoft’s commitment to progress sustainable transformation and investment in Sweden, as well as advancing its goal to be 100% renewably powered by 2025.

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WHY IT MATTERS

In 2019, the conglomerate made a commitment to empower sustainable transformation in Sweden through investment and innovation. Currently, Microsoft has over $1.25m (€1m) in community investments in the country, in partnership with 13 organisations, dedicated to advancing STEM programmes. It has also offered grants and supplied hardware to the Gävle, Sandvikem and Staffanstorp - cities that are part of the new datacentre region.

Accenture Sweden has expressed its excitement about the new development, highlighting the public sectors as a key beneficiary. Country managing director Mattias Lewrén said: “We believe this initiative will have a significant impact, not only for Sweden and the cities of Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp [where the datacentres are based], but also for greater Europe, by enhancing the region’s ability to compete, maintain data integrity and offer sustainable data services.”

Microsoft chose Sweden as the site of the new region due to the country’s commitment to sustainability. The Cloud region, which is up to 98% more carbon efficient than traditional on-premises datacentres, will also include a Microsoft Circular Center to prolong the lifetime of its technology. Furthermore, the datacentres will be run on 100% renewable energy powered by climate-positive energy company Vattenfall. The region will use the Vattenfall 24/7 solution, which will measure the renewable energy consumption of the datacentres every hour. The solution, which was co-developed with Microsoft, has also been made available to customers in Sweden.

The technology company has also announced a new partnership with Sigma Young Talent as part of the #SkillUpSweden initiative, dedicated to providing young professionals with AI and cybersecurity skills. Through this initiative, Microsoft hopes to provide digital skills training for up to 150,000 Swedes, in line with the company’s goal to help 25 million people globally to improve their technical competence. 

THE LARGER TREND

Microsoft already has over 65 cloud regions across the globe, including in Taiwan and Austria, making it the largest cloud infrastructure in the world. The conglomerate recently released Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare for general availability.

ON THE RECORD

Hélène Barnekow, general manager of Microsoft Sweden, commented on the announcement: “Sweden has long been a leader on the global stage in many areas, including sustainability, innovation and gender equality. It is one of the places in the world where IT and tech have the greatest potential to create new opportunities for the individual, the organization and society. In this time of change, we invest in the digital infrastructure and our Swedish ecosystem to accelerate digital transformation that will empower public and private companies to innovate, providing a strong digital foundation for the country’s future growth.”

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