Tag Archives: Data Centers and Infrastructure

Breaking ground for Google’s first data center in Denmark

Whenever Google looks for a new place to build a data center, it's important that the location has high-quality digital infrastructure and supports renewable energy production. Denmark has both of these things and much more—which is why we’re investing 600 million euro to build a new data center just outside Fredericia, in western Denmark.


You might be wondering: What exactly is a data center? Data centers are the heart of Google—they’re the home for a large group of servers that power our products like Search, Gmail and YouTube. When you use search or watch videos, servers in data centers around the world are working in the background, doing the heavy lifting. They keep data and information like your emails and photos safe; when you hear about “the cloud,” the data stored in the cloud is actually stored inside a data center.


To make sure that we're continuing to make space for the infrastructure that powers our products, new data centers like the one in Fredericia are crucial. In Fredericia, we’ve found a great business community and a location with existing infrastructure that fits what we’re looking for when we set out to build an efficient, modern data center.

In Fredericia, Google is committed to matching its energy use with 100 percent carbon-free energy. This commitment includes the electricity use of our data centers, too. We’re pursuing new investment opportunities (called Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs) in Danish renewable energy projects like onshore wind, offshore wind and solar energy. In Europe, Google data centers typically use one third less energy than a typical data center, yet we’re still striving to use even less. The Fredericia data center will be among the most energy efficient data centers in Denmark to date, taking advantage of advanced machine learning to make sure every watt of electricity counts.


A new data center also leads to new job creation. Consultancy firm Copenhagen Economics (CE) has forecasted the impact the Fredericia data center will have on the local economy: according to CE, the construction will support 1,450 jobs per year in 2018-2021. Once operational, around 150-250 people are expected to be employed at the site in a range of roles—including computer technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, catering and security staff. And, given increased economic activity expected in the area, there’s also an effect on job sectors like retail trade, hotels and transportation.


At Google, we aim to support the communities that surround our facilities, and in the last few years we’ve invested almost 3.4 million euro in grants to initiatives that build the local skills base—like curriculum and coding programs, as well as educational support through teaching collaborations at area colleges. We’ll also introduce initiatives like these in Fredericia.


With construction work expected to run through 2021, Fredericia will be Google’s fifth data center in Europe, joining our other sites in Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium. We'll look to continue investing in Europe, leading the way with green projects and building ties with the local community.

Breaking ground for Google’s first data center in Denmark

Whenever Google looks for a new place to build a data center, it's important that the location has high-quality digital infrastructure and supports renewable energy production. Denmark has both of these things and much more—which is why we’re investing 600 million euro to build a new data center just outside Fredericia, in western Denmark.


You might be wondering: What exactly is a data center? Data centers are the heart of Google—they’re the home for a large group of servers that power our products like Search, Gmail and YouTube. When you use search or watch videos, servers in data centers around the world are working in the background, doing the heavy lifting. They keep data and information like your emails and photos safe; when you hear about “the cloud,” the data stored in the cloud is actually stored inside a data center.


To make sure that we're continuing to make space for the infrastructure that powers our products, new data centers like the one in Fredericia are crucial. In Fredericia, we’ve found a great business community and a location with existing infrastructure that fits what we’re looking for when we set out to build an efficient, modern data center.

In Fredericia, Google is committed to matching its energy use with 100 percent carbon-free energy. This commitment includes the electricity use of our data centers, too. We’re pursuing new investment opportunities (called Power Purchase Agreements, or PPAs) in Danish renewable energy projects like onshore wind, offshore wind and solar energy. In Europe, Google data centers typically use one third less energy than a typical data center, yet we’re still striving to use even less. The Fredericia data center will be among the most energy efficient data centers in Denmark to date, taking advantage of advanced machine learning to make sure every watt of electricity counts.


A new data center also leads to new job creation. Consultancy firm Copenhagen Economics (CE) has forecasted the impact the Fredericia data center will have on the local economy: according to CE, the construction will support 1,450 jobs per year in 2018-2021. Once operational, around 150-250 people are expected to be employed at the site in a range of roles—including computer technicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, catering and security staff. And, given increased economic activity expected in the area, there’s also an effect on job sectors like retail trade, hotels and transportation.


At Google, we aim to support the communities that surround our facilities, and in the last few years we’ve invested almost 3.4 million euro in grants to initiatives that build the local skills base—like curriculum and coding programs, as well as educational support through teaching collaborations at area colleges. We’ll also introduce initiatives like these in Fredericia.


With construction work expected to run through 2021, Fredericia will be Google’s fifth data center in Europe, joining our other sites in Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium. We'll look to continue investing in Europe, leading the way with green projects and building ties with the local community.

A new approach to enabling abundant wireless connectivity

The ability to connect with people and services—whether that’s sending a message or streaming a video—has become part of our daily lives. Yet, far too often, we encounter situations where the connection is just too slow to use—or we have no connectivity at all.


In the U.S., while mobile Internet access is widely available, download speeds are among the slowest in the developed world. Why? You can think of wireless networks like a highway, and they’re getting congested as demand continues to grow, leading to slowdowns. So if we increase available wireless spectrum, it’s like adding lanes on a highway to carry additional traffic.


Together with a multitude of industries including mobile, cable, IoT and more, we’ve worked closely with the U.S. government to foster policies for a new shared spectrum approach to wireless connectivity. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) is a successful example of this approach. CBRS allows a wide array of business models to use shared spectrum—from mobile carriers to rural broadband providers to venue owners—without having to spend significant resources to acquire usage rights. A cloud-based Spectrum Access System (SAS) intelligently manages sharing between new and incumbent users. By sharing underutilized portions of spectrum, CBRS adds capacity, lowers barriers to commercial entry and paves a path to 5G.


Unlike today’s wireless networks, CBRS will consist of densely packed radios from multiple providers all sharing the same spectrum, and sometimes even the same network. This completely changes the way you plan, deploy and operate your network. We are bringing the best of Google, such as our geo-spatial insight, network infrastructure and computational capabilities to deliver a suite of products to enable CBRS networks, starting with Google’s SAS.


It is genuinely exciting to see the wireless ecosystem embrace CBRS and ultimately enhance wireless Internet for everyone. We’ve been at this for a long time, going back to a Presidential study that proposed the framework behind CBRS. Now, CBRS is rapidly approaching commercial availability with first deployments expected this year.


If you want to get started with CBRS, we’d love to hear from you.

The Internet is 24×7. Carbon-free energy should be too.

Electricity is the fuel that allows our data centers to deliver billions of Google searches, YouTube views, and much more—every single day, around the clock. Our commitment to carbon-free energy should be around the clock too.

Today we published an inside look at the sources of Google's electricity around the globe, to gauge how we're tracking toward our long-term aspiration of sourcing carbon-free energy on a truly 24x7 basis. Our new discussion paper highlights how some of our data centers—like the one in Hamina, Finland—are already performing remarkably well on this front. The paper shares location-specific “Carbon Heat Maps” to visualize how well a data center is matched with carbon-free energy on an hour-by-hour basis. For Hamina, a heat map shows that 97 percent of the facility’s electricity use last year was matched with carbon-free sources.

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Last year, 97 percent of our Finland data center’s electricity use was matched on an hourly basis with carbon-free sources.

The predominance of carbon-free energy at our Finland data center is partly due to Google’s purchases of wind energy in the Nordic region. Indeed, our large-scale procurement of wind and solar power worldwide is a cornerstone of our sustainability efforts, and has made Google the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. Last year we matched 100 percent of our annual electricity consumption with renewable energy purchases, and will continue to do so as we grow.

In many cases, we’ve partnered with local utilities and governments to increase the supply of renewable energy in the regions where we operate. For example, near our data center in Lenoir, NC, we worked with our local electricity supplier to establish one of the first utility solar purchase programs in the U.S. Solar alone, however, is unable to provide electricity around the clock. When the sun is shining, our Lenoir data center is quite carbon-free (indicated by the midday green ribbon in the Carbon Heat Map below), but at nighttime it’s more carbon-intensive; we plan to tackle this issue in the coming years by procuring additional types of carbon-free energy.

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Last year, 67 percent of our North Carolina data center’s electricity use was matched on an hourly basis with carbon-free sources.

The Carbon Heat Maps demonstrate that there are times and places where our electricity profile is not yet fully carbon-free. They suggest that our 100 percent renewable energy purchasing goal—which relies on buying surplus renewable energy when it’s sunny and windy, to offset the lack of renewable energy supply in other situations—is an important first step toward achieving a fully carbon-free future. Ultimately, we aspire to source carbon-free energy for our operations in all places, at all times.

Creating a carbon-free future will be no easy feat, but the urgency of climate change demands bold solutions. Our discussion paper identifies several key actions that we and the rest of the world must take—including doubling down on renewable energy purchases in a greater number of regions—to achieve 24x7 carbon-free energy. We have our work cut out for us and couldn’t be more excited to push forward.