Google to spend €1 billion to develop its data center in Finland

Google is planning to invest €1 billion to expand its primary data center in Finland, citing the facility’s simple access to green energy, Bloomberg reported.

The data center is located in Hamina, a city on the country’s southern coast. This location has ample renewable energy supplies, which are critical for Google’s objective of transitioning all of its offices and data centers to green energy by the end of the decade.

Between 2024 and 2025, the data center’s expansion is expected to boost employment by a fourth, up to 500 employees.

“The tech giant is also pioneering a project with a local utility company to feed excess heat into a network of pipes used to heat homes in the area. The technology, called district heating, is common in parts of Northern Europe,” Bloomberg wrote.

Data centers, which are already energy-intensive, become considerably more so when utilized for AI. Reusing server heat is one technique to lessen AI’s impact on the power grid and the environment.

After all, if Google isn’t careful, its rush to integrate AI into Search and other products might jeopardize the company’s climate ambitions and put further strain on the energy networks in which it operates.

The reported expansion of its Finland data center follows Google’s I/O presentation last week, which featured a new search engine with generative AI and a speedier version of its Gemini model. AI was mentioned 121 times at the event and is employed in everything from holiday planning and scam detection systems to virtual assistants.

The project in Finland is Google’s first effort of this kind, and it promises it will provide the heat for free. For almost a decade, Google has been reusing that heat to power its on-site offices. As the data center grows and consumes more energy, Google intends to distribute the heat to meet 80 percent of the district’s annual heating requirements.

Since Google purchases carbon-free energy to match 97 percent of the data center’s consumption of energy, the heat it delivers to Haminan Energia will be regarded as a mainly clean source of energy.

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