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Sustainable Growth is Key to Eastern Europe Data Centre Growth

Eastern Europe has been experiencing significant growth in its data centre infrastructure. This growth is colliding with energy resource constraints, making sustainability a hot issue. 

At Capacity Europe 2023, the team attended a fascinating session on "The Role of Central & Eastern Europe in the Global Data Centre Landscape," where energy usage and sustainability were a major topic of conversation. This article summarises the key points from this session and adds our own perspective. 

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Why is Growth Happening in Eastern Europe?

The FLAP markets, comprising France, London, Amsterdam, and Paris, have been the dominant players in Europe's data centre colocation market for many years. While these markets still play an important role, they are now mature and face limitations due to physical space constraints and the need for more energy to power the data centres. 

Internet audiences are maturing in Eastern Europe. For example, according to Kepios, there were 9.19 million internet users in Hungary at the start of 2023, when internet penetration stood at 89.7 percent. As a result, content providers are driving most of the growth in data centre utilisation, versus telecoms.

As a consequence, colocation providers are expanding to new locations, such as Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Warsaw, as well as further towards Eastern Europe. 10 years ago, Frankfurt was main hub of connectivity for Eastern European countries, but with local deployments becoming easier, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary are all gaining more data centres. Poland data centre growth is additionally being driven by movement of workloads from Ukraine.

Data Centres’ Role as Energy Infrastructure

The most discussed topic during the Capacity Europe panel was energy, including the negative impact of data centres, green power as a distinguishing factor, and how data centres need to address growing demand whilst keeping sustainability as a priority. 

It was agreed during the panel that as the countries of Central and Eastern Europe gain more data centres, there are lessons they can take from what has happened concerning energy consumption in other areas of the world. One presenter mentioned that a year ago there was a protest against lifting a ban on data centres in South Dublin, Ireland due to fears of blackouts and water shortages. 

When considering the effect data centres have on local communities, it was put forward by Wojciech Stramski, CEO of, that data centres are energy infrastructure and should be integrated into the local ecosystem without waiting on the government to enact these real changes. This genuine integration would involve energy and water used by data centres being redistributed so that it benefits other nearby buildings, such as heating water for swimming pools or powering a shopping centre.

All panellists of course agreed that cost of power is a key challenge and green power needs more progress, more investments, and can be more cost effective than traditional power. Regarding the current Eastern European countries, it was stated that Poland has still has to make significant improvements to make but it is catching up when it comes to green power since they were 3rd in the EU in 2022 for solar power.

Using Less Data? This Won’t Happen

When it came to the question of how to reduce the amount of power being used, Ana Nakashidze, CEO of Azertelecom, made a powerful statement on the responsibility of corporations in this arena. She stated that asking individual citizens to use less data or less cloud is unrealistic, saying it’s not going to happen, and that it’s up to organisations to solve this issue. We cannot outsource the problem. We need to be open to new solutions and partnerships which tackle the same sustainability goals in new, innovative ways.

Greater Demand Doesn’t Have to Mean Less Sustainable

Although sustainability and renewable energy are currently not tracked as thoroughly in Eastern Europe as they are in Western Europe, data centre players recognize its potential to distinguish themselves from other regional players. As a consequence, we can expect more measures against CO2 emissions in the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) region in the near future.  
Including improvements in processing efficiency and virtualisation, there are multiple techniques that European data centres are currently using to meet the rise in demand without sacrificing sustainability commitments. Despite it looking unlikely to happen soon that data centres will truly integrate into local ecosystems as energy infrastructure, the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact has outlined methods of measurement and clear sustainability targets.

The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact

The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact was launched in 2021 and passed 100 signatories in October of 2022. These data centre operators and trade assocations are committed to the European Green Deal, achieving the ambitious greenhouse gas reductions of the climate law, and leveraging technology and digitalization to achieve the goal of making Europe climate neutral by 2050.  

To ensure data centres are an integral part of the sustainable future of Europe, the signatories agree to make data centres climate neutral by 2030 by committing to concrete sustainability  

Data Centre Networks Need to be Sustainable

Networks are integral to data centre operations, and just as the panel observed about data centres in general, networks specifically need to be sustainable. is expanding its network footprint into Hungary, with a Budapest PoP planned to go live in the near future, and the Eastern European data centre market is growing in importance to our customers. 

As with the rest of our network, we are committed to working closely with this data centre on our mutual sustainability goals. is strongly committed to sustainability, as a certified B Corporation and having recently received the PAS 2060 Carbon Neutral Certification from TÜV SÜD.