Geothermal Energy | Iceland’s ‘zero-emission’ Data Center
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Geothermal Energy | Iceland’s ‘zero-emission’ Data Center

(CNN) — A cloud-computing company is building what it calls “the world’s first zero-emission data center” in Iceland.

The British company Colt says the data center will be powered fully by geothermal and hydroelectric sources of energy, which Iceland has in spades. The blog Earth2Tech, where we spotted this story, says Iceland could become a “magnet” for data centers because of the wide availability of renewable energy sources there.

“Why is a country, which blipped on the global news radar in recent months because of its ash-spewing volcano and hard-hit financial markets, such a hot place to construct data centers that could house thousands of servers and run web services for Internet giants?” asks Katie Fehrenbacher from that GigaOm network blog . “First off: location. Its placement between Europe and the U.S. means that companies in the U.S. can run their Web services for both continents in one location, potentially saving money,” says Fehrenbacher.

“Secondly, because of its abundant hydropower and geothermal power, Iceland can offer data center services powered by 100% clean power for the same price or less than Web services powered by fossil fuel-based grids in other locations. Internet companies can use the clean power to market their green services, or take advantage of green subsidies in certain markets.”

Bernard Geoghegan, an executive at Colt, says his company chose Iceland because of renewable energy:

“The location of this data center has been strategically placed so that it will be the first in the world to use 100% dual sourced renewable energy sources,” he writes in a company blog post .

This development is significant because data centers — giant warehouses of computers that store information that’s on the Internet — use lots of electricity. In the United States, these info factories account for about 1.5% of all energy use, according to a 2007

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