Microsoft will open its world-class, sustainable datacenter region in 2021 with 100 percent renewable energy, continue investing in local communities and skilling for up to 150,000 Swedes
STOCKHOLM — Nov. 24, 2020 — Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced another major milestone in its commitment to sustainable transformation and investment in Sweden. Building on plans announced last year to develop sustainable datacenters in the country, Microsoft confirmed it will launch a world-class, sustainable datacenter region in Sweden in 2021 with presence in Gävle Sandviken and Staffanstorp. The Microsoft Cloud delivered from datacenters in Sweden will enable Swedish businesses to empower employees, engage customers, transform products and optimize operations — all through connected experiences and supported by advanced data privacy and security. Critical to Microsoft’s approach is its continued investment in community development to support new economic opportunities in the region in which it operates and across the country. Microsoft’s community investments in Sweden total more than $1.25 million (U.S.) in partnership with 13 organizations to advance STEM programs focused on youth, skilling and culture.
“Building on Microsoft’s 35-year history in Sweden and strong partnerships across the energy, manufacturing and retail sectors, we are looking forward to delivering the Microsoft Cloud from this new datacenter region in 2021. We believe that digital transformation should always be both inclusive and sustainable. As such, we will provide digital skills training for up to 150,000 citizens, to help support their employability and empower them to take advantage of the opportunities that this investment brings to Sweden. It’s a game-changer that the new cloud region will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, thanks to our partnerships with Vattenfall and a world-class sustainable design,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations.
“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,” said Hélène Barnekow, General Manager, Microsoft Sweden.
World-class datacenter design that furthers commitments to sustainable operations
The cloud offers additional benefits in carbon reduction. According to a projection by The Footprint Firm, the total emissions from on-premises servers in Sweden amounts to an estimated 395,000 tons of CO2 per year. A report from WSP* shows that Microsoft Cloud services are up to 98 percent more carbon efficient than traditional enterprise datacenters.
Microsoft has selected Sweden as the site for one of its most advanced, sustainable datacenter regions, due to the country’s strong commitments to sustainability and innovation. The new datacenter region will be the first hyperscale cloud region to use the Vattenfall 24/7 solution in a commercial product, enabling Microsoft and other Vattenfall customers to see if its 100 percent renewable energy commitment covers each hour of consumption and to translate sourcing of renewable energy into climate impact. Vattenfall’s 24/7 matching solution, co-developed with Microsoft, is now available to customers across Sweden. Microsoft’s datacenter region in Sweden will seek zero-waste certification and will include a Microsoft Circular Center, designed to extend the lifecycle of servers through reuse and support a circular economy for the Microsoft Cloud.
“Microsoft has an ambitious global goal to use 100 percent renewable energy in its datacenters, buildings and campuses by 2025. Vattenfall aims to enable fossil-free living in one generation, and we are proud to support this goal, with Microsoft as the first hyperscale cloud provider to use the Vattenfall 24/7 matching solution to measure hourly energy consumption for renewable energy matching. In this way, Microsoft is able to translate sourcing of renewable energy into a positive climate impact by providing information on the source of energy not just on a monthly or yearly basis, but on an hourly basis,” said Andreas Regnell, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at Vattenfall.
Supporting cloud-powered digital transformation, skilling and communities in Sweden
The Microsoft Cloud enables innovation through the latest advancements in collaboration, productivity and developer tools for a range of skillsets — all with advanced security and data privacy. Sweden’s Microsoft Cloud region will join the largest cloud infrastructure in the world, and will deliver: Microsoft Azure, an ever-expanding set of cloud services that offers computing, networking, databases, analytics, AI and Internet of Things (IoT) services; Microsoft 365, the world’s productivity cloud that delivers best-of-breed productivity apps integrated through cloud services, delivered as part of an open platform for business processes; and Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organizations to grow, evolve and transform to meet the needs of customers. The Sweden datacenter region will help customers store data at rest in Sweden and comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new region will also deliver Availability Zones, which are fault-isolated locations within an Azure region, enabling customers to design their applications with additional tolerance to datacenter failures.
Swedish customers and partners are already driving business transformation with the Microsoft Cloud, including H&M Group, Sandvik Coromant and Accenture Sweden, who have all expressed their intent to use Microsoft Cloud services when available from the new region in Sweden.
“As part of Sandvik Coromant’s collaboration with Microsoft around innovation, we are leveraging Microsoft Cloud technology to drive forward the development and digitalization of the manufacturing industry. Microsoft establishing datacenters in Sweden will further enable us to shape the future of manufacturing while staying true to our ambitious environmental goals,” said Magnus Ekbäck, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Sandvik Coromant.
“Clients have turned to the cloud for its inherent flexibility and scalability and, increasingly, as a way to lower carbon emissions and meet climate change commitments,” said Mattias Lewrén, Country Managing Director, Accenture Sweden. “Microsoft’s establishment of local datacenters will enable Accenture and Avanade clients to select their cloud with purpose, build with ambition and innovate further on their journey to sustainable digital transformation. The new cloud region will be vital to many organizations in Sweden, such as those in the financial services and public sectors, that need locally based datacenters. We believe this initiative will have a significant impact, not only for Sweden and the cities of Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp, but also for greater Europe, by enhancing the region’s ability to compete, maintain data integrity and offer sustainable data services.”
To support the local ecosystem, Microsoft has invested over $1.25 million (U.S.) to date in a range of community projects, including grants and donated hardware, in the cities of Gävle, Sandviken and Staffanstorp, which are part of the datacenter region. Microsoft is also advancing its work with the #SkillUpSweden initiative, announcing a new collaboration with Sigma Young Talent to support young professionals in AI and cybersecurity skills. #SkillUpSweden aims to provide digital skilling opportunities for up to 150,000 Swedes to strengthen their technical competence and builds on Microsoft’s goal announcement this year to help 25 million people globally acquire new digital skills.