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Google to invest €3b in European data centers

20 Sep 2019, 21:23 ( 23 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Prime Minister Antti Rinne and Google CEO Sundar Pichai in Helsinki on Friday. Photo Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said here on Friday that the internet giant had decided to invest 3 billion euros to expand its data centers in Europe over the next two years.

Since 2007, Google has invested 15 billion euros in Europe.

Google's European data centers include one at Hamina, southeastern Finland. It was constructed in 2009 on the premises of a former paper plant vacated by Stora-Enso.

At a joint press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, Pichai announced an additional investment of 600 million euros in Hamina. This will raise the amount invested there to 2 billion euros.

Pichai said that the data center at Hamina serves as a model of efficiency and sustainability for all Google data centers.

SMART REGULATION

Pichai said that Google welcomed "smart regulation" in global frameworks for the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies.

Such "smart regulation" will promote innovation while tackling specific problems, he said. "AI is a diverse set of technologies and many different applications. And it is developed in partnerships between government and business," he said.

Pichai said Google was looking forward to exchanges with the European Union's incoming leaders.

He also announced plans to assist in retraining the work force for the digital economy in Europe.

Based on a 2-billion-euro grant, the trade unions will arrange retraining assistance schemes in the Nordic states, the Netherlands and Belgium. In Finland, the organizer will be the central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK).

ENERGY INVESTMENT

Pichai said Google shared the vision of a carbon-free future presented by Finland as president of the European Council.

He noted that this week Google made its biggest ever purchase of renewable energy. "Nearly half of the new megawatts produced will be in Europe," he said.

Google invests in a new offshore wind project in Belgium, five solar energy projects in Denmark and two wind energy projects in Sweden.

In Finland, Google is committed to two wind energy projects that will produce 250 megawatts. Pichai said this will more than double the company's renewable energy capacity in the country.

This energy investment means that nearly all the energy consumption at the Google facility in Finland will be compensated by local carbon-free operations even after the new investments.