Google reveals €3bn investment in European data centres

20 Sep 2019

People entering Google building. Image: PA Media

Google chief Sundar Pichai has said that the investment will support 13,000 full-time jobs a year in the European Union.

Google’s top boss has said the tech giant is planning to invest €3bn to expand its data centres across Europe in the next two years.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai said it will bring the company’s total investments in the continent’s internet infrastructure to €15bn since 2007.

Pichai met Finnish prime minister Antii Rinne in Helsinki and said the investments will support 13,000 full-time jobs in the European Union every year.

He also noted that Google is investing heavily in renewable energy, an initiative announced ahead of global rallies calling for action to guard against climate change. Employees at Google and other big US tech companies such as Amazon and Microsoft planned to participate in the ‘global climate strike’.

The Google project will include the construction of more than a billion euro in new energy infrastructure in the EU, among them a new offshore wind project in Belgium, five solar energy projects in Denmark, and two wind energy projects in each of Sweden and Finland.

There are also pending projects in the US and South America. Pichai said that once these projects come online, Google’s carbon-free energy portfolio will produce more electricity than places such as Washington DC or entire countries like Lithuania or Uruguay use each year.

Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai. Image: Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva/AP

Irish investment

In Ireland, the data centre industry is set to grow significantly in the next few years, with recent research indicating that €4.5bn worth of new data centres will be constructed in Ireland by 2025.

Pichai has also hinted at other forms of investment in Ireland. He revealed in an interview with The Irish Independent that Google is willing to build homes and subsidise general housing in Ireland to combat the current accommodation crisis gripping the country.

“It’s something I would think about doing over time,” Pichai told the newspaper. “It makes sense for us as a company to do it and it’s the right thing to do.”

— PA Media, with additional reporting by Eva Short