Statkraft in talks with firms to set up data centres in Norway

OSLO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Norwegian power firm Statkraft is negotiating with U.S. and other companies to build large data centres in its home country, favoured by a recent change in Norway’s tax system, the state-owned utility told Reuters on Thursday.

Unlike its Nordic neighbours, which have attracted large data centre investments from big-data firms such as Apple , Alphabet, Facebook and Hive Blockchain, Norway has not yet cashed in on the trend.

Known for its cheap, plentiful supply of hydroelectric power, Norway at the start of the year exempted data centres from paying property taxes in a bid to attract foreign customers in competition with countries like Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

“You had unnecessary taxation in this business and this risk is now gone. We are working hard to get some contracts signed but I couldn’t say by when,” Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Toennesen told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference.

“Competition is tough ... but we have a good offering. (Norway is now) a good place to establish an advanced computer based business,” he added.

In 2017, Statkraft received proceeds of between 1.2 billion and 1.5 billion euros ($1.44 billion-$1.80 billion) from divesting its offshore wind assets, money the company plans to re-invest.

“Within the next three years we will invest all of it. It will be in hydropower, onshore wind and solar. Solar will be in India, Brazil and Europe,” Rynning-Toennesen said.

He declined to specify the size of the solar capacity that Statkraft plans to build and said the firm was evaluating different projects.

$1 = 0.8310 euros Editing by Mark Potter