Frankfurt Also Starts Regulating the Data Center Industry

After we saw the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands getting fed up with the unrestrained growth of large, energy-guzzling block boxes in their city, the city of Frankfurt in Germany now also believes that there are too many data centers located within its city boundaries. Frankfurt now wants to tighten its development controls as well.

Amsterdam and Frankfurt, together with London and Paris are well-connected cities and among the main Internet hubs in the world. The downside of this unique position is the large number of data centers it attracts to house all the IT infrastructure equipment for hosting companies, cloud providers, MSPs, systems integrators, and enterprises alike.

Frankfurt is home to DE-CIX, next to the AMS-IX (Amsterdam) and LINX (London), one of the world’s largest Internet hubs interconnecting networks from various providers. Being close to this Internet exchange, while having ample carrier connectivity at your disposal at this particular location, makes it a great place to establish data center presence and deploy your IT infrastructure. Especially in the eastern part of Frankfurt there are quite some data centers present.

The Frankfurt area is home to more than 60 colocation data centers and the city authorities are aware of many more to come. The city of Frankfurt welcomes these data centers, but it wants to keep control of the development, while restricting uncontrolled growth and avoid displacing financially weaker commercial enterprises.

Like in Amsterdam, data centers in Frankfurt in the near future are only allowed to be located in clusters while the operators have to invest in the facilities’ energy-efficiency. On top of that, new data centers in Frankfurt should preferably be constructed with a taller and narrower design, with facades to avoid the construction of unsightly block boxes.

Reusing Data Center Waste Heat in Frankfurt

The city of Frankfurt also sees the data center industry’s growing energy use as a significant impediment to meeting its own climate goals. These data centers in Frankfurt together are using almost twice as much energy as all of the city’s households combined. Frankfurt’s energy grid is currently being extended, specifically to meet this enormous energy demand. Next to that, special substations need to be funded and built to support electrical link loads for data centers of 10MW up to as a much as 100MW.

The city government has encouraged the data center industry in Frankfurt to find ways to conserve electricity while also looking for a way to reuse waste heat. Like they suggested in Amsterdam as well, the city government of Frankfurt is proposing that waste heat reuse might partially offset the power demands. Data center waste heat has so far been released without further use, but possibilities for reusing waste heat at future locations should be explored.