Google buys land in Gromstul



Photo: Skien kommune
A fire lookout tower at Gromstul.

The large patch of forest in Telemark will be used for future data center

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

Google, the internet-related services and products company, announced in early August that it had bought a patch of forest at Gromstul, an abandoned seter (summer dairy farm) just north of the city of Skien in Telemark County. The long-range purpose of the purchase is that Gromstul is a viable site for building a data center comprising a group of buildings housing computer systems and telecommunications facilities.

The data center planned at Gromstul is intended to handle international data traffic. So it is intended to be very large, or hyperscale in cyber lingo. Hence the need for land; in metric units, the size of the Gromstul site is 194.7 hectares (481 acres). In 2015, when the Gromstul site was first considered, there were 259 hyperscale data centers around the world. By 2020, some 485 are scheduled to be in operation, and will handle more than half the world’s data traffic. From the very start, Gromstul has been thought of as a future node in an international network, a geographical fact reflected by a signpost at the fire lookout tower at its center.

Currently operating Norwegian data centers include Green Mountain at Rennesøy near Stavanger in Rogaland County, as well as those operated by Digiplex and by Basefarm. In 2017, a new data center opened at Lefdal Mine in Sogn og Fjordane County. These, as well as other data center developments, are part of a Norwegian governmental incentive described in Powered by Nature, Norway as a data center nation, Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries white paper, downloadable at:

This article originally appeared in the September 6, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.