20 April 2021

New feasibility study on structural transformation: “Rhenish mining district” ideally suited as hub for exchanging, storing and using large data volumes

Frankfurt am Main, 20 April 2021. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, against the backdrop of impending structural transformation, has commissioned the “Feasibility Study Data Infrastructures in Rhineland’s Former Coal Mining Area”. The content of the study was prepared under the leadership of DE-CIX; the contracting consortium consisted of Deutsche Telekom Business Solutions GmbH, DE-CIX Management GmbH, Detecon International GmbH, WIK-Consult GmbH, and the Institute of Economic Structure Research (GWS) mbH. The feasibility study examines whether the conditions and potential exist for a hyperscale data center, including an integrated data hub and connected digital park, in the Rhenish mining district. The authors of the study, under the project leadership of DE-CIX, conclude that the Rhenish mining district has all the prerequisites for locating these data infrastructure components there, and tthat such an initiative would develop the district into one of the most innovative regions in Europe. According to the location analysis undertaken by the study authors, three areas situated in the municipalities of Rommerskirchen, Dormagen-Nievenheim and Bergheim-Paffendorf are particularly suitable for locating a hyperscale data center as a data hub. Numerous locations in the Rhenish mining district show potential for the location of a ‘digital park’. A digital park site should be within close proximity to the hyperscale data center and data hub, i.e. within a radius of no more than 30 kilometers.

Harald A. Summa, CEO of DE-CIX, comments on the results of the study: “The Rhenish mining district is a historically strong industrial region in the midst of digital transformation. It is the location of many companies, large and small, that will produce more and more data in the future. This process will be flanked by the anticipated settlement of many other companies in the Rhenish mining district in the future. Up to 60 million users in a radius of 250 kilometers in and around the Rhenish mining district are already increasingly demanding data infrastructures. In order to be able to supply these locally in the future, we have investigated in this study whether the Rhenish mining district has the prerequisites for building such data infrastructures, whether it makes sense to locate these in the Rhenish mining district, and how this can succeed. The region is ideally situated geographically between two important world-class Internet Exchanges – Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Many medium-sized companies of international standing are based there, and these are increasingly demanding data infrastructures in the course of their digital transformation. The power supply is excellent for the operation of the required infrastructures. This study provides investors from around the world with the information they need to recognize the potential of the Rhenish mining district.”

Rhenish mining district faces historic structural transformation

The decision to end the mining of lignite for the generation of electricity marks the end of an economic era in the Rhenish mining district. This is because the Rhenish mining district has been shaped by the extraction, conversion to electricity, and refinement of lignite, and is therefore now facing a profound transformation. The development of new data infrastructures opens up the opportunity for the Rhenish mining district to take advantage of the necessary structural transformation while taking climate protection and sustainability aspects into account, to drive forward future technologies, to develop business models, to secure employment, and to make an economic contribution to future growth.