Iceland has opened a new 100 percent carbon neutral data centre site that will support UK and US companies wanting to save money and widen their green IT strategies.

UK firm Verne Global is the first company to open a data centre at the 18-hectare Keflavik site which was previously used by the military, including NATO operations.

The data centre taps into Iceland's renewable energy power grid which takes advantage of hydro and geothermal energy sources, and also takes advantage of Iceland's ambient temperatures for free cooling.

Verne, whose main shareholder is the Wellcome Trust, says a data centre of the same size anywhere in the UK or the US, would cost 50 percent more to operate when it comes to power usage.

The first company to use Verne's data centre is IT hosting and cloud computing firm Datapipe, which supports end users in the US, UK and other countries. With Iceland located between the US and the UK, the new facility is seen by Datapipe as an ideal site for its "green cloud" initiative.

Datapipe CEO Rob Allen said: "Power and cooling efficiencies combined with the strategic geographic location will provide our clients with an option for carbon neutral, enterprise ready IT services and a 100 percent green cloud."

Verne Global CEO Jeff Monroe, speaking at the NetEvents summit in Rome, maintained there was still demand for green IT solutions despite reports that many firms were shelving green technology moves in the teeth of the ongoing recession. Monroe said:

"If you offer an end user a good green service and a good service that is not green for the same price, they will take the green service. And if you offer them the choice of a green one that is also cheaper they will always take that."

End users looking at Datapipe's service offering will now be doing the sums to work out how much of its data centre power savings it will be proposing to pass onto them.

Verne Global claims it is in pole position to build further data centres at the Keflavik site.