Google has announced plans to invest €3 billion to expand its data centers in Europe over the next two years, with a focus on sustainability and clean energy, according to Tech Crunch.
The company’s data centers are hubs for digital storage, networking, and cloud computing for its services, allowing data to be stored online instead of on local hard drives, and they typically require intensive energy usage.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the move in a blog post on Friday, committing to run the data centers on fossil-free fuels, minimizing the impact on the environment.
Earlier this week, Google made the largest ever corporate purchase of renewable energy, totaling 1,600 megawatts. According to Pichai:
“Today I’m announcing that nearly half of the megawatts produced will be here in Europe, through the launch of 10 renewable energy projects. These agreements will spur the construction of more than 1 billion euros in new energy infrastructure in the EU, ranging from a new offshore wind project in Belgium, to five solar energy projects in Denmark, and two wind energy projects in Sweden.”
And in Finland, two new wind projects will help offset the Hamina data center’s energy usage with local, carbon-free sources. Of their total investment, €600 million will go toward the Hamina data center. The site, converted from an old paper mill in 2009, uses seawater to cut down on energy used for cooling. Pichai called the site “a model of sustainability and energy efficiency for all of our data centers.”
Pichai was in Finland Friday to discuss sustainable, carbon-free development with prime minister Antti Rinne, who called the move “fantastic news for Finland.”
The company is also investing in skills training to prepare people for jobs at the data centers. Google says it has trained 5 million people in Europe in digital skills. A Google skills hub was recently opened in Helsinki.
Other Google data centers in Europe are located in the Netherlands, Ireland, and Belgium.
“At Google, we feel a deep responsibility to ensure that everyone can benefit from the opportunities that technology creates. That applies not just to job training but the development of responsible innovation, as well,” Pichai wrote in his blog post. “We look forward to partnering with governments and other stakeholders in the months and years ahead. Together, we can make sure every European benefits from a strong and sustainable digital economy.”