Fortum and EKE-Construction apply for planning permit for large data centre in Kirkkonummi
Fortum and EKE-Construction Ltd are cooperating to prepare the way for a large data centre investment in Kirkkonummi. EKE-Construction is applying for an alteration of plan for the construction of a data centre on a site it owns in Sundsberg, Kirkkonummi.
For the town of Kirkkonummi, a large data centre would be a major investment and Fortum would use the centre’s waste heat for the district heating network it operates in the Kirkkonummi, Kauniainen and Espoo region.
“On a global scale, 99 per cent of data centres’ waste heat is left unused. We could recover the waste heat from the planned data centre in the Sundsberg area and use it in the district heating network for homes in the region. The recently published Espoo Clean Heat project has the aim of carbon-neutral district heating in the region’s district heating network by the 2020s. A further goal is to discontinue the use of coal by 2025. Waste heat from the large 100 MW data centre could provide heating for up 80,000 end users and replace a large proportion of coal capacity. At the same time, the recovery of waste heat would considerably improve the data centre’s ecological sustainability and cost competitiveness,” says Antti Kaikkonen, Head of Strategy and R&D, Generation Division, Fortum.
The project would create hundreds of jobs
“The data centre industry is one of the fastest-growing energy-intensive sectors in the Nordics. The Finnish Government’s intended tax reforms and the planned Arctic Connect data cable connection via the Northeast Passage will improve Finland’s competitiveness, but it must act fast due to fierce competition in the industry,” says Kaikkonen.
“Corresponding data centre projects involve hundreds of permanent jobs directly, plus thousands more due to indirect impacts. The employment impact during the data centre construction phase, and in recurring modernisation investments, could mean thousands of jobs. We are very glad that EKE and Fortum are active in this project, which is important to the future of Kirkkonummi as a whole,” says Tarmo Aarnio, municipal manager of Kirkkonummi.
The large land areas owned by EKE in the Sundsberg region primarily meet the municipal engineering requirements set for a large data centre. In addition to a district heating network, the area has good connections to the power grid and data networks. Its central location close to an international airport in the Helsinki metropolitan area provides an excellent basis in terms of workforce availability, for example.
“We are excited to be involved in this project. It will not only bring new jobs to Kirkkonummi, but possibilities to attract new businesses to the area, ones that both use the data centre and provide services for it. Utilisation of the data centre’s waste heat for district heating is a major step towards carbon neutral housing and we intend to be involved in that work. The location of the Sundsberg site is excellent and it has good connections. Due to the large size of the site, its environmental impacts can be taken into account in planning and its operations can be expanded when necessary,” says Tea Ekengren-Saurén, CEO of EKE-Construction Ltd.
In addition to Kirkkonummi, Fortum has a planning reservation for a data centre site in the Högnäs (Hepokorpi) area of Espoo, and development is underway on a site Fortum owns in the Inkoo power plant area.
“These projects do not compete but are complementary. Data centre investors will decide which site best suits their needs in due course. It is our job to listen to the needs of data centre operators, in order to meet their requirements by pre-planning the most attractive projects possible,” says Kaikkonen.
Antti Kaikkonen, Head of Strategy and R&D, Generation Division, Fortum, tel. +358 50 453 6308
Tea Ekengren-Saurén, CEO of EKE-Construction Ltd, tel. +358 400 60 7670
Tero Luomajärvi, Municipal Architect, Municipality of Kirkkonummi, tel. +358 40 846 5657