As global sanctions take a bite out of the Russian economy, and oil, an essential part of the country’s GDP, continues to fall in price, billionaire Oleg Deripaska proposes using hydropower to fuel data centers in Siberia, as reported by Bloomberg. Data centers eat up vast amounts of energy, and hydropower is a cheap solution. A new law passed by Vladimir Putin requires electronic data to be stored on Russian users, and the demand for the services of data centers should increase.
The location of the first data center will be Irkutsk, which is closer to China and Mongolia than Moscow. It is hoped that this will improve Russia’s relations with Asia, but the fact that the data center is located so far away from its Russian user base may mean slower speeds, which can be fatal to a data center.
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Nevertheless, the need for data centers is increasing in Russia, and the market may grow 20% in 2015. Deripaska, who is Russia’s 13th richest man with a net worth of $8 billion, is making the transition from the commodities like aluminum that made his fortune to technology. Another risk facing the new data centers is that low rain levels have reduced dam levels, and this might interfere with the ability to produce hydroelectric power efficiently.