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ABB has won an order worth about $11 million from Facebook Inc.’s subsidiary Pinnacle Sweden, to power its first server facility outside the United States. ABB will build two high- and medium-voltage air- and gas-insulated switchgear substations that will supply power to a datacenter being built in Luleå, a coastal town in northern Sweden. The data center will be the largest of its kind in Europe.

“The substations are designed to handle the high electricity demand of such facilities” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB's Power Systems division. “They will provide reliable and quality power supply to the server buildings.”

The construction of Facebook's datacenter will be carried out in three phases. The facility will consist of three server buildings with a total area of 84,000 square meters, equivalent to 11 full-sized soccer fields. The first building is scheduled to become operational in December 2012, and will have a substantial need for electrical energy to power and cool its servers.

Located near the Arctic Circle, Luleå’s cold climate is well suited for the natural cooling of server buildings. This, along with a stable supply of clean energy from renewable sources as well as reliable communications and electricity networks, paved the way for the choice of Luleå as a location for its new center, making it a European node for Facebook’s data traffic.

ABB will also install substation automation systems compliant with the global IEC 61850 standard and equipped with the latest protection and control products. The installed capacity of the substations will exceed the city’s normal consumption on cold winter days.