A large data center in Finland operated by Russian Internet giant Yandex has had its power supply turned off. According to local energy company Nivos Energia Oy, the electricity was cut off because the server center did not have a valid electricity sales agreement. The facility has been forced to run on generators since 25 April.
Yandex, the largest technology company in Russia, is seen as Russia’s answer to Google. It provides 70 Internet-related products and services, including a search engine used by around 100 million people, navigation services, a ride-hailing app, and food delivery. The data center in Mäntsälä, about 40 miles north of capital Helsinki, was opened in 2014. Excess heat from it is used to heat nearly 1,000 residential properties in the area. The company - which for tax purposes is registered in the Netherlands - operates five data centers, with Mäntsälä being the only one outside of Russia.
Yandex is, for now at least, not under sanctions in Finland, but its CEO deputy Tigran Khudaverdyane was forced to resign when he was hit with sanctions by the European Union. In a statement, Yandex said the data center remained fully operational, and that it was renegotiating its power supply contract with Nivos Energia Oy. The Yandex data center used to run on local wind energy from Finnish wind farms. Waste heat from the district heat system is used to heat up to 75 percent of local homes, which has cut CO2 emissions from heating by 50 percent.
In a surprise twist, cutting of the excess heat from the data center might mean that it would force local homes to burn Russian gas instead. Nivos just last month decided to acquire a new bioheat plant operating on wood pellets, wood chips, or grain to produce low-emission domestic energy for the customers of the Mäntsälä district heating network. The plant is meant to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and energy from Russia.