Google US$1bn Data Centre Investment: Supporting AI Growth

Google has Announced Plans to Invest in US$1bn in a UK Data Centre to Grow its Compute Presence Across Europe and Support the Company’s AI Innovation

Technology leader Google has announced a US$1bn investment into a new UK data centre, as it continues to expand its data centre presence.

The new site will help power popular digital Google’s services for people and organisations worldwide, as well as playing a crucial role in supporting the company's artificial intelligence (AI) innovations.

Google’s data centres are some of the most efficient in the world and this new facility will allow for off-site heat recovery and provide the UK with more compute capacity. The heat generated by the data centre can be captured and used to heat nearby homes and businesses.

Powering cloud innovation and creating local jobs

The UK is a leading nation in science and technology and the Google investment cements that. Already home to leading technology companies like Google DeepMind and Darktrace, Google’s new data centre represents the company’s ongoing investment in the UK, which encompasses offices, infrastructure and partnerships.

Aiming to support the local community where the facility will be based, Google also hopes to create new construction and technical jobs. This commitment highlights the company’s continued investment into UK digital transformations, as it also helps to ensure reliable digital services for the country’s Google Cloud customers and Google users.

These data centre services ultimately aim to support Google’s AI innovations and growing cloud needs in the UK during a time of widespread digital demand. The new data centre will also be ready for off-site heat recovery to conserve energy and benefit the local community.

Heat recovery allows data centres to capture its heat and repurpose it for local homes and businesses. This type of technology has been posed as a global solution for data centres to meet digital demand in a sustainable way, with heat reuse potentially contributing to organisations simultaneously reducing global energy consumption and streamlining offered services.

Google’s data centre is also set to deploy an air-based cooling system.

“People and organisations worldwide rely on Google’s data centres daily for the digital services they use,” said Ruth Porat, President & Chief Investment Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet and Google. “The Waltham Cross data centre represents our latest investment in the UK and the wider digital economy at large. [It] will help meet growing demand for our AI and cloud services and bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK. 

“Together with the UK government, we are working to make AI more helpful and accessible for people and organisations across the country.”

Google’s global data centre expansions set to continue

The tech giant has been operating in the UK for more than 20 years, currently employing more than 7,000 in the country. A new data centre of this scale will aid Google in growing its business across the UK and Europe, in addition to the £118bn (US$150bn) in economic activity in the UK alone.

Pioneers in computing infrastructure, Google’s data centres are some of the most efficient worldwide, having already reduced office computing costs, energy use and carbon emissions by 65-90%.

The organisation is keen to pursue net zero emissions business-wide by 2030, ambitiously planning to run all its data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy. Its new facility in the UK contributes towards this, via its heat recovery and cooling solutions, as it provides a real opportunity to conserve energy and benefit the local community as a result.

A new data centre of this scale builds on Google's existing and ongoing UK investments, supporting the country’s wider economy as a result. A significant collaboration announced in 2023 was its multi-year research collaboration agreement with the University of Cambridge to support progress in responsible AI.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP says: “From business conducted online to advancements in healthcare, every growing economy relies on data centres. 

“Our country is no different and this major US$1bn investment from Google is a huge vote of confidence in Britain as the largest tech economy in Europe, bringing with it good jobs and the infrastructure we need to support the industries of the future.”

In addition to the UK and Europe, Google is also committed to expanding its global presence - having recently expanded its data centre sites in the United States (US). It is seeking out numerous sites worldwide to develop interconnected data centres and support rising customer demand in an age of digital transformation. 

Google follows other tech giants in this decision, including Microsoft which also committed to invest billions into data centres to advance AI.

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