Our data centers support Europe’s green economic recovery

In 2020, families, schools and businesses moved online more than ever due to the pandemic. All the Google services you rely on are powered by our data centres, and we’ve had to ensure this infrastructure works for everyone as demand increased—for businesses using Google Cloud and Google Meet, and for anyone who asks a question on Search, watches a YouTube video, or uses Google Maps to get from A to B. 

In the last few weeks, we’ve added new infrastructure to Europe that supports the continent’s digital growth. Last month in Hamina, Finland, we were delighted to welcome Prime Minister Sanna Marin as she visited the construction site of our sixth data center building. Last week, we opened a new data center in Denmark in Fredericia. And just this week in the Netherlands, our second Dutch data center started its operation in Middenmeer.

A European green transition, powered by sustainable infrastructure

We’re proud that our data centers operate the cleanest cloud in the industry. They are on average twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center. Compared to five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electrical power. 

Last week Europe announced its ambitious55 percent reduction target for CO2 emissions by 2030, in addition to its 32 percent renewable energy target. Google is helping to accelerate this transition, having supported nearly 1,700 megawatts of new renewable energy projects in Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. And we are committed to supporting the EU Climate Pact, as technology will have a critical role to play in making the EU Green Deal vision a reality.

Taking the world’s greenest data center fleet to the next level

Our AI technology helps reduce the energy we use to cool our data centers by 30 percent, and we make it available for use by airports, shopping malls, hospitals, data centers and other commercial buildings and industrial facilities. 
But we’re not stopping there. A few months ago, we announced our Third Decade of Climate Action: an ambitious plan to help build a carbon-free future and operate on clean energy around the clock. This is far more challenging than the traditional approach of matching energy usage with renewable energy, but we’re working to get this done in the next nine years.

Contributing to European growth with our (new) data centers

In addition to enabling the greenest, cleanest cloud, all these sites bring economic growth and employment to local communities and to Europe. In Finland, our data center has brought €1.2 billion in investment and supported 1700 jobs every year since 2009. During construction of our Denmark data center, we spent over €600 million and supported 2600 jobs. And in the Netherlands, we’ve directly invested €2.5 billion since 2014.

In the next five years, we expect to anchor €2 billion in new carbon-free energy generation projects and green infrastructure in Europe, helping to develop new technologies to make round-the-clock carbon-free energy cheaper and more widely available. 

Investing in our local communities

Partnerships at the local level make all the difference to communities. We have long worked with local NGOs in our data center communities and have donated millions to important initiatives in Europe, including skills training in cooperation with local colleges and universities. 

We have supported multiple education programmes focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as environmental and cultural projects. For example, in Denmark we recently supported two projects with the Museum Fredericia that will promote local history through virtual experiences. In the Netherlands, we’ve helped with the preservation of local bee and butterfly populations. And in Ireland, during COVID-19, we’ve assisted vulnerable communities, and have given grants to local schools to provide students with laptops and enable home schooling.

We are proud to invest in Europe’s digital infrastructure, contribute to the local communities we operate in and support Europe’s green transition. This will be a decisive decade, and we are committed to leading by example.