Iceland Data Center Power, Fiber, and Natural Disasters, Perception vs. Reality

The folks at Iceland's economic development group provided PDF documents describing the Power and Fiber infrastructure and natural disasters.


As requested I am sending you a map showing the location of the substations and transmission lines of Landsnet, the Transmission System Operator of Iceland.  As may be seen from the map, the 132 kV and 220 kV part of the transmission system is built as an interconnected, N-1 system, i.e. it is built and designed in such a way that a single failure of one component should not have an effect on the delivery of power to our customers. 

Also the map shows the location of the current volcanic activity in Eyjafjallajökull and a shaded grey area where ash fall has resulted from the volcanic eruption.  The ash that is falling is composed of both fine and course particles.  The wind direction and other meteorological conditions have an impact on where the ash falls to earth. 

The Natural Disaster Risk is top in the news and is in this pdf.


The Power Infrastructure is mapped here.


The Fiber Infrastructure is here.


Here is a press release as well translated to English.


Ever since the volcanic eruption started at Fimmvörðuháls, followed by the larger eruption in the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, Landsnet has been on alert to manage any unexpected events in Iceland’s electricity transmission system. No disturbances due to falling ash have occurred.
We are keeping a close watch on developments and our team remains on alert in case any action is needed. Our Operation & Maintenance department is preparing condition checking on the South Transmission Line to examine the effects of the ash-fall.
Representatives of the Electricity Sector Emergency Partnership (ESEP) are working at the National Emergency Coordination Centre at Skógarhlíð in Reykjavík to provide information to stakeholders as developments unfold and warrant. This role is carried out by standby personnel of Landsnet’s System Operations division. In addition, the Coordination Centre monitors the telecommunications network. These parties also supply updates on the electricity system’s status to the Civil Protection Department.
Regular consultation meetings on the situation are held with representatives of ESEP and the telecommunications system. ESEP representatives are co-operating closely and exchanging information on the eruption and its effects.
The Eyjafjallajökull eruption appears to have changed from an explosive eruption to an effusive eruption. Steam explosions have decreased and the ash plume is not reaching such high altitudes as previously. This indicates that water is no longer reaching the crater and that an effusive lava flow has begun. Splashes of lava are streaming out of the crater and the eruption plume is now mostly white. According to the Icelandic Met Office, the probability of ash-fall in the Greater Reykjavík Area is minimal. The wind direction is forecast to turn easterly on Thursday, but rain is forecast, which reduces the likelihood of ash-fall substantially.
The eruption has caused no disruptions to electricity transmission or distribution, nor has it caused damage to electricity infrastructure in the affected region. There have been no disruptions to telecommunications. Water supply to the Westman Islands is being closely monitored, as the islands’ water source is located in the volcano’s vicinity. A power line from Iceland State Electricity (RARIK) along the Eyjafjöll mountains tripped over the weekend, but this was confirmed to have been due to birds flying into the line. Back-up diesel generators are being operated at the town of Vík as a result.
The fine-grained ash gets into all electricity infrastructure in the area and is deposited on outdoor electrical installations. However, this has not caused any disturbances. According to information from RARIK, all the indications are that the ash does not have high conductivity, as neither dry nor wet ash has caused any interruptions. The ash will be largely washed off installations and equipment by rain. Confirmation regarding the ash’s conductivity is being sought from the Science Institute of the University of Iceland.
Regular updates on the eruption are provided on the website of the Icelandic Civil Protection Department:

I don't disagree with any of these being facts, but Perception vs. Reality is something few understand.

Truth vs. Fact
In his book Story, the legendary screenwriter Robert McKee wrote, “What happens is fact, not truth.  Truth is what we think about what happens.”  Facts are reality (Smaller cars are safer than SUVs).  Truth is perception (Bigger is safer).  Facts are the way things are (It doesn’t matter what golf ball you hit; it’s still going to end up in the woods).  Truth is the way your brain view things; your thoughts, opinions, evaluations, feelings and conclusions (You’re a winner . . . like Tiger.  So you need a ball with a swoosh on it).  You believe that your truths are the facts. We all do.

This is a difficult concept to grasp.  Not because it’s intellectually challenging; it’s not. Rather, because it’s difficult to feel.  For example, do you feel that you are the outgrowth of a spinning sphere that is rocketing through space at more than twenty times the speed of a bullet?  Probably not, but those are the facts.  So what does this have to do with marketplace success? Everything!  Because the cold, harsh reality is that your audience judges you based upon the very little bit of you that they hastily perceive.  They speed read you, and prejudge you with their resultant feelings.

I see this Perception vs. Reality (Truth vs. Fact) mistake being made repeatedly in data center discussions.  The data center experts think one thing, the pubilc thinks another.  Data Center experts say they are right.  Public doesn't care.  Look at the Facebook page run by Greenpeace.  It is now up to 400,000 people for English,  Spanish and French versions.

Take action: Join a group in your language!
English Group: We want facebook to use 100% renewable energy

Spanish Group: Queremos que Facebook utilice 100% energía renovable

French Group: Nous demandons 100% d'énergie renouvelable pour Facebook

Join the group to get onto 100 percent renewable energy

More than 400,000 facebook members in 8 weeks!

Facebook announced in February that it will build a massive data centre in Oregon, U.S., packed full of the latest energy efficient computers to serve the hundreds of millions of friends connecting on their near-addictive social networking website. But the company plans to run the place on electricity made by burning coal--Yes, the dirtiest source of energy and largest single source of global warming pollution in the world.

Facebook has tried to tell the truth on their energy efficiency.

At the same time, it is simply untrue to say that we chose coal as a source of power. The suggestions of “choosing coal” ignores the fact that there is no such thing as a coal-powered data center. Similarly, there is no such thing as a hydroelectric-powered data center. Every data center plugs into the grid offered by their utility or power provider. The electrons powering that data center are produced by the various sources (e.g. hydro, natural gas, coal, geothermal, nuclear, etc.) the provider uses in proportions similar to the mix of sources used. That is, if 25% of the providers energy comes from natural gas, it’s a good guess that 25% of the electrons powering the facility come from that source. Even when a facility is in close proximity to an individual source of energy, such a dam or coal plant, there is no guarantee that the electrons from that source are flowing to the facility at any particular time.

I know of one power site that runs as a microgrid with 100% biomass renewable energy  at 10 - 20 megawatts currently being evaluated as a data center site.