A consortium of companies including Deutsche Telekom Business Solutions GmbH, DE-CIX Management GmbH, Detecon International GmbH, WIK-Consult GmbH, and the Institute of Economic Structure Research (GWS) mbH was commissioned by The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia Germany for a study titled: “Feasibility Study Data Infrastructures in Rhineland’s Former Coal Mining Area”.  The purpose was to explore whether the mining district could serve as a potential hotspot for digital innovation, primarily for hyperscale data centers, connectivity, cloud, and internet exchanges as well as the exploration of an integrated data hub and connected digital park.

Geostrategically, the Rhenish district study revealed that the area serves up to 60 million users in a radius of 250 kilometers. Historically once a busy economic sector and former lignite coal mining location to generate electricity, the district is undergoing massive transformation initiatives focused on incorporating climate protection and sustainability. To embrace this new world order, the developing Rhenish district focuses on future technology solutions and more sustainable business models, which leads to an increase in employment, with the goal of having a positive impact on the economic future of the area.

As a lead on the project, DE-CIX and the collective team of researchers have found that the “Rhenish mining district has all the prerequisites for locating these data infrastructure components.” As a result, these initiatives would help the district develop into one of the most innovative regions in Germany. According to location analysis, the municipalities of Rommerskirchen, Dormagen-Nievenheim, and Bergheim-Paffendorf are particularly suitable for locating a hyperscale data center as a data hub. Many locations within the Rhenish mining district show potential for a “digital park” location as well. A “digital park” site should be within the vicinity of data hubs and hyperscale data centers, i.e. within a radius of no more than 30 kilometers.

Harald A. Summa, CEO of DE-CIX, commented on the results of the study: “The Rhenish mining district is a historically strong industrial region in the midst of digital transformation.” Companies, large and small, will produce more and more data in the future. The region is ideally situated geographically between two important world-class Internet Exchanges – Frankfurt and Amsterdam.  This study informs investors from around the world of the need to recognize the potential future of the Rhenish mining district. With an abundant power supply, the district is excellent for the operation of the required infrastructure. Midsize to large companies of international standing are based here and likely increasing demands of data infrastructures in the course of their digital transformation. 

For more information: https://www.wirtschaft.nrw/pressemitteilung/dateninfrastruktur-rheinisches-revier