Microsoft launches sustainable cloud region in Sweden

18 November 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Microsoft has launched a new data centre region in Sweden, powered with "100% carbon-free energy" and supporting zero-waste operations.

With presence in Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp, Microsoft’s new data centres are now open for business with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 both available. The Sweden data centre region will also deliver Azure Availability Zones, providing customers with additional application resiliency options. 

Microsoft President Brad Smith said: “As Swedish industries and enterprises look to adopt and innovate on Microsoft’s platform, our data centre investments build on our portfolio of products and services while meeting important data residency, security and compliance needs."

Microsoft is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for the region, one of the highest environmental certifications from the US Green Building Council.

The tech giant said it is "committed to cutting carbon emissions, achieving zero waste certification, and running on 100% carbon-free energy" in Sweden. Further, the new region will be powered by 100% carbon-free energy with 24/7 hourly energy matching with partner Vattenfall.

The specific type of energy was not detailed, however, Microsoft did say it has signed agreements for new renewable energy projects with bp, Enlight Renewable Energy, European Energy, NTR, Prime Capital and wpd.

In addition, Sweden is Microsoft’s first data centre region whose backup generators will run on Preem Evolution Diesel Plus.

Preem is the world’s first Nordic Eco-labelled fuel, which Microsoft said contains "at least 50% renewable raw material", whereas Preem's own website states "25-50 percent renewable raw materials" and that "using Preem Evolution Diesel instead of fossil diesel cuts fossil carbon dioxide emissions by up to 46 percent".

Lastly, the new region will host Microsoft’s third European Circular Center, which repurposes servers and hardware from the firm's data centres.

The Swedish Circular Center will have the ability to support 12,000 servers per month. Supporting the company’s water positive by 2030 commitment, the datacenters’ servers will be cooled with only outside air 100% of the year, and rainwater will be captured at the datacenter, used primarily to provide humidification and to support onsite datacenter facilities.

Hélène Barnekow, general manager Microsoft Sweden said: “Our Swedish data centres are among the most sustainably designed and operated in the world. This is an important launch for Sweden and Europe, as I am of the firm conviction that new tech innovation is the most important enabler for the world to reach the global sustainability targets. By moving to the cloud, we create new opportunities to accelerate the transformation to a more sustainable future – together.”

In Sweden Microsoft already provides cloud services to Combitech, PostNord, Sandvik Coromant and Handelsbanken.

Handelsbanken is one of Sweden’s largest banks and has migrated from its own on-premises solution to Microsoft’s data centre. 

Its CIO Mattias Forsberg said: “The fact that Handelsbanken has been named Sweden’s most innovative major bank three years in a row means that we have succeeded with what means the most to us – namely, meeting the challenges and needs of our customers. We need to work closely with our partners, to create even more customer value during our ongoing transformation journey. The Microsoft cloud technology is a crucial part to Handelsbanken’s strategic focus in the areas of modernization of critical business applications and agile development cycles.”