The Norwegian ammunition manufacturer Nammo would like to expand – also in order to be able to meet the increased demand caused by the war in Ukraine. However, there is hardly any electricity left in the region – because a data center for Tiktok is draining the network.
“We are concerned that our growth will be stunted by cat video storage.” With this quite strange sentence, Morten Brandtzæg, head of the Norwegian armaments company Nammo, speaks to the “Financial Times” about the future of his company. What initially seems funny or strange has an initial background.
As one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of infantry, tank, aircraft and artillery ammunition, Nammo is currently forced to expand its site in Raufoss, Norway, a town around 100 kilometers north of Oslo. Because of the high demand from the war in Ukraine, 15 times more ammunition is needed than Nammo can currently produce.
Tiktok is getting in the way of ammo production
However, according to the local energy supplier Elvia, there is currently no electricity for a new factory, the company was informed. The reason: A data center in the region, whose main customers include Tiktok, requires all the resources. Further data centers are already under construction – there should be five in total.
The expansion of an energy-hungry company like Nammo would therefore not be easy. Elvia explained to the “Financial Times” that the network first had to be expanded, which took time.
On the other hand, according to Brandtzæg, there is historical demand for ammunition from the EU. He told the Wirtschaftsblatt: “We are seeing an extraordinary demand for our products, which we have never experienced in our history.”
The “Financial Times” wants to know if he thinks it’s a coincidence that a Chinese company is putting so much strain on the network that its industry is being restricted. Brandtzæg: “I don’t want to rule out that it’s not a coincidence that this activity takes place near an armaments company. I can’t rule it out.”
Nammo boss calls for priority for critical industry
The Nammo boss demands that governments have to set priorities when it comes to scarce energy resources at a location. ‘In Europe, this is a major concern for industry: critical industries must have access to energy,’ he warned. “I don’t think it’s a one-off, but a trend for the future.”
At least for Nammo, quick help is announced. In this particular case, the business development committee of the Innlandet district government, where Nammo is based, agreed to look for solutions on behalf of the ammunition manufacturer that would allow the factories to be expanded. That was of “national interest,” it said. It really is: Nammo is half-owned by the state.
According to the Financial Times, experts are warning that such conflicts will increase in Europe in the future. In northern Sweden there is also a case where a decision will soon have to be made as to which type of company will have priority in the energy supply. This is also due to the fact that Scandinavia has long been considered an extremely interesting location for data centers, because cheap electricity and the naturally cooler climate had a positive effect on operating costs, since less money was spent on cooling the servers.