Microsoft has just announced it plans to build a new data center region in Southern Finland, which will feature Azure Availability Zones – its cloud computing platform.

Each zone within the cloud or data center region will have different physical locations equipped with independent power, networking, and cooling infrastructures. However, Microsoft plans to purchase renewable energy for the new data center region in Finland.

Also, Microsoft is establishing a partnership with Fortum Corporation to enable the conversion of waste heat produced in the datacenters to district heating resources and distributing the heat to Finland’s city Espoo and neighboring Kauniainen, as well as the municipality of Kirkkonummi.

“Developing solutions for global challenges together with partners is a strategic priority for Fortum, and we are proud to embark on this exceptional journey together with Microsoft. By tapping into waste heat from datacenters, we can provide clean heat for homes, businesses and public buildings in the capital area of Finland and reduce up to 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. This is a significant and practical step for a cleaner world,” said Markus Rauramo, President and CEO of Fortum.

The planned new data center region in Finland is expected to join Microsoft’s global network of cloud computing infrastructure which constitute more than 60 regions, over 280,000 kilometers of terrestrial and subsea fiber, and over 190 edge sites.

“Finland is at the forefront of digitalization and innovation, and the nation’s world-class companies and forward-looking public sector organizations are leading in the digital transformation of their sectors,” said Cindy Rose, President of Microsoft Western Europe.

“We are incredibly proud of the novel way this datacenter will sustainably power Finnish digital transformation, while also heating Finnish homes and businesses and helping cities achieve their emissions targets. In this unique collaboration, Microsoft and Fortum combine their world leading expertise in cloud computing and sustainable energy solutions, transforming the design thinking of datacenters of the future.”

Less than 2 weeks ago, Microsoft also announced that it plans to establish a new data center region in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. This investment will deliver the fourth Microsoft region in India, joining the existing network of three regions established across Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai.