Forget my youthful dreams of visiting the North Pole, now I want to go to The Node Pole. The Node Pole is a collection of green data centers located in northern Sweden, very near the Arctic Circle. Three Swedish municipalities, Lulea, Boden and Pitea, the Lulea Business Agency and other business organizations in the region own the data centers.

With its proximity to the Arctic Circle, the facilities have a year-round supply of fresh air that can be used to cool the buildings. Data centers are extremely electricity-intensive and these facilities are being run on 100 percent renewable hydropower. Although the buildings exclusively use hydropower, the grid is stable and there is extremely high redundancy built in. As an added bonus, the region has the lowest electricity prices in Europe.

This sounds like the dream setup for a data center, and it appears that Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook agrees. In October 2011, the social networking giant announced that it was building its first international data center at a site in Lulea.  

Construction is well underway for the data center, which will include three server buildings that are about 300,000 square feet, each. Although the entire facility isn’t expected to be up and running until next year, the region is already feeling what is called the "Facebook effect."

Three data center support companies have expanded to Lulea, the region has seen a 25 percent increase in companies that are moving into Lulea Science Park, and applications to the Lulea University of Technology are up 18 percent.

“We have been educating data technicians since the early '80s, but right now we are experiencing a previously unseen peak in interest and applications from new students. In fact, we are currently the university in Sweden that is seeing the biggest increase in student applications,” says Johan Sterte, vice chancellor at Lulea University of Technology  (Source: The Node Pole)

If this continues, Lulea and the region may end up being the Silicon Valley of Europe.

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