Google announces US$1 billion London data centre investment

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Google has announced their next investment, a new data centre just outside London costing an estimated US$1 billion. Located on 13-hectares of land that the company purchased almost 4 years ago; the investment is an attempt to meet the region’s growing demand for internet services. These include bringing crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK, supporting AI innovation and helping to ensure reliable digital services to Google Cloud customers and Google users in the UK and abroad. The company also added that the construction of the data centre will create both technical and construction employment for the local community.

A rendered image of the data centre

The Google London Data Centre location

Located in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, the investment comes amid a period of increasing regulatory scrutiny of the world’s biggest cloud providers. In October, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said Britain’s £7.5 billion cloud services market is to be the subject of a full investigation over concerns that dominant players such as Microsoft, unfairly disincentivize customers from using smaller providers. It follows a market study into the sector by media watchdog Ofcom, which urged the CMA to investigate the major cloud providers more deeply.

Other Google projects in the region

This announcement builds on Google’s investment in offices with the US$1bn purchase of a Central Saint Giles office in 2022, the 1 million sq ft. development in central London. Furthermore, the launch of their Accessibility Discovery Centre, a project aiming to encourage the creation of accessible tech for the whole of the United Kingdom.

Google’s carbon-free energy future

Google currently employs 7,000 people in Britain and is committed to serving the community. They said that waste heat generated from the data centre would be an opportunity for energy conservation that can benefit the local community. Additionally, the company aims to run all their data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy (CFE), every hour of every day by 2030. In support of this goal, in 2022 the tech giant announced a power purchase agreement with ENGIE for offshore wind energy generated by the Moray West wind farm in Scotland. Further, this agreement will add 100 MW of energy to the grid and put the company’s UK operations on track to operate at or near 90% carbon-free energy by 2025.

A rendered image of the data centre

“Google’s $1 billion investment is testament to the fact that the UK is a centre of excellence in technology and has huge potential for growth,” said the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.

“This new data centre will help meet growing demand for our AI and cloud services and bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK while creating construction and technical jobs,” Alphabet Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat said in the Google statement.

Further details on the construction timeline or scope of the project have not been mentioned in the Google press statement.

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