A leading ammunition manufacturer said TikTok data centers in the same region are consuming so much electricity it may not be able to move forward with a planned expansion, according to the Financial Times.
Demand for artillery rounds has skyrocketed and promises to continue escalating in the near future as Western governments consolidate around efforts to upgrade production, according to the FT. Nammo, one of Europe’s largest ammunition manufacturers, wanted to increase capacity at its Raufoss plant in central Norway but was told that the region lacked additional power supply due to a nearby data center used primarily by the social media app TikTok.
“We are concerned because we see our future growth is challenged by the storage of cat videos,” Nammo CEO Morten Brandtzæg told the outlet.
Western support for Ukraine’s artillery-dependent effort to fight off Russian invaders accounts for the massive increase in European demand.
Ukraine fires about 6,000 rounds each day, or the equivalent of yearly orders for a small European country, and it would launch up to 65,000 if it could, Nammo told the FT. An additional $2 billion Euros in new factories will just account for Kyiv’s needs, much less those of other customers.
“We see an extraordinary demand for our products which we have never seen before in our history,” up to 15 times higher than average, Brandtzæg told the FT.
European Union leaders on Thursday sought to finalize an plan to accelerate a purchase of 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition for Ukraine within the next 12 months, according to The Associated Press. EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell approved $1.1 billion in incentive funding for member nations to draw from their existing stocks, while an additional $1.1 billion will go toward fast-tracking new orders.
Meanwhile, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and is an alleged tool of the Chinese Communist Party, has invested in three new data centers in 2023 alone in Hamar, a region about 16 miles away from Nammo’s Raufoss plant, according to Norwegian data center company Green Mountain.
Brandtzæg hinted that TikTok may have purposely signed contracts for new data centers, thereby increasing competition for electricity in the region, to crowd out Nammo, according to FT.
“I will not rule out that it’s not by pure coincidence that this activity is close to a defense company. I can’t rule it out, ” he told FT.
EU leaders endorsed the agreement on the decisions to help #Ukraine :
☑️ €2 billion: for donations or joint purchases of ammunition by EU countries funded via #EuropeanPeaceFacility
☑️ more European Commission measures to increase ammunition production
— EU Council (@EUCouncil) March 23, 2023
Nordic countries have become popular hosts for data centers due to a colder climate, which suppresses the cost of cooling the centers, and historically plentiful and cheap electricity.
The local energy firm confirmed to the FT that little spare power remained in the area.
“If Nammo orders capacity, depending on how much it needs, it will take time before there is available capacity as the transmission network needs to be strengthened,” the company, Elvia, told the FT.
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