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Finland utility cuts power to Russian Yandex data centre

Written by Fri 6 May 2022

The Yandex data centre in Mäntsälä (Finland) is now running on diesel fuel, after its power was cut off by the local Finnish utility. The decision to cut power to the data centre was made in accordance with international sanctions on Russian countries, as a result of the war in Ukraine.

This data centre was built in 2014 and is connected to two 110 KV energy sources. Additionally, some heat generated by the facility is recycled, used to heat water for approximately 1,000 households in the area.

In a statement last month, Finnish utility Nivos Energia Oy president Marko Ahl said, “We strongly condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand by the people affected by the war. Our primary task in this exceptional situation is to act responsibly and ensure that we supply our customers with heat, clean water, and electricity.”

The Yandex data centre is part of a large-scale waste heat recycling project in the district, which provides up to 75% of the heat in homes in Mäntsälä, helping to reduce CO2 emissions from district heating by over 40%.

Ahl went on to note that “utilizing waste heat in the district heating network is the best possible ecological heat source. If the situation so requires, we would have to replace waste heat mainly with Russian natural gas and light fuel oil. At the same time, our carbon neutrality goals would inevitably take a backseat.”

The utility stated its commitment to ensuring that heat, energy and water supplies are secure, and that contingency plans are in place.

Yandex, Russia’s flagship technology company, was not originally a part of Western sanctions. Then, on March 1, Lev Gershenzon – a former head of Yandex News – published a letter on Facebook accusing the tech giant of hiding information about the war in Ukraine.

“The fact that a significant part of the Russian population may believe that there is no war is the basis, and the driving force of this war,” he wrote. “Yandex today is a key element in hiding information about this war. Every day and hour of such ‘news’ is human lives. And you, my former colleagues, are also responsible for this.”

Yandex was banned from trading on the NYSE and Nasdaq stock exchanges due to Western sanctions, and stock values have fallen more than 75% over the past few months. Then, the company agreed to sell Yandex News and Yandex Zen to VK, the larges social platform in Russia. Yandex cited “changing economic conditions” and “increasingly difficult access to data” as the reasons for this decision.

Written by Fri 6 May 2022


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