Microsoft plans to build a ‘hyper-scale’ datacentre in Denmark powered fully by renewable energy by 2024, with the IT giant making a linked pledge to skill up some 200,000 people to support its expanded operations in the country.
No capital expenditure figures were revealed by Microsoft but it characterised the project in the Copenhagen region, announced as part of the nation’s #DigitalLeapDenmark industrial digitalisation initiative, as “the most significant investment in its 30-year history in Denmark”.
“This plan represents the next step in Microsoft’s longstanding commitment to help the country accelerate public sector digitisation, fuel digital innovation to support growth of Danish enterprises, and apply technology to help create a greener future,” said the company, in a statement.
Microsoft president Brad Smith stated: “Building a hyper-scale datacentre in Denmark means we’ll store Danish data in Denmark, make computing more accessible at even faster speeds, secure data with our world-class security, protect data with Danish privacy laws, and do more to provide to the people of Denmark our best digital skills training.
“This investment reflects our deep appreciation of Denmark’s green and digital leadership globally and our commitment to its future.”
Once online, the datacentre, which will cloud-connected using Microsoft's Azure software, is expected to provide “new opportunities for [Microsoft’s] partner ecosystem in Denmark, which currently includes Accenture , Atea , KMD , Netcompany , NNIT , Proactive , Systematic , and Venzo .
Microsoft, which calculated that each $1 of cloud revenue in Denmark would generate $7.23 for its partners over the next four years, said was working with Danish transmissions system operator Energinet “to explore future ways of tracking and matching renewable energy on an hourly basis”, with the aim of launching of a “renewable energy supply option, which provides customers more transparency about carbon mitigation from clean energy”.
The IT company currently employs over 1,000 people in Denmark, with recently investments in a quantum computing research lab for a collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark.
The “upskilling” to come with the datacentre project, according to Microsoft, will range over “in-depth training programmes and certification” for partners and customers, digital education for children and youth, and free access to “learning paths, job-seeking tools, and low-cost technical certifications” for jobseekers, via LinkedIn Learning,