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Google announces $1bn investment in new UK data centre

Written by Fri 19 Jan 2024

Rendering of new Google data centre

Google has reinforced its commitment to the UK’s digital economy with a £788.4 million ($1 billion) investment in a new data centre. The facility will be based in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.

This investment is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to support the growing demand for services like Search, Maps, YouTube, Workspace, and Google Cloud.

The UK’s digital economy and technological advancements is rapidly expanding in areas like AI, 5G, and machine learning. This move is set to support AI innovation and ensures reliable digital services for Google Cloud in the UK and abroad.

A Step Towards Sustainable and High-Capacity Computing

The 33-acre site, which Google purchased in 2020, is expected to create construction and technical jobs in the local community. The data centre will bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK.

Ruth Porat, President and Chief Investment Officer, said: “The Waltham Cross data centre represents our latest investment in the UK and the wider digital economy at large.”

Google is also committed to running all its data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy (CFE) every hour of every day by 2030.

The new facility will include provisions for off-site heat recovery, capturing the heat generated by the data centre for use by nearby homes and businesses.

Google previously announced a power purchase agreement with ENGIE in 2022 for offshore wind energy from the Moray West wind farm in Scotland. This will significantly increase the carbon-free energy percentage for Google’s UK operations.

Google Invests in the UK

The investment in Waltham Cross is part of Google’s broader commitment to the UK, which includes the $1 billion purchase of its Central Saint Giles office in 2022, as well as its development in King’s Cross.

“Together with the UK government, we are working to make AI more helpful and accessible for people and organisations across the country,” added Porat.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt welcomed Google’s investment as a strong vote of confidence in Britain’s tech economy, highlighting the role of data centres in supporting future industries and economic growth.

“The UK is a fantastic place to invest, and 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.

“Foreign investment creates jobs and grows all regions of our economy and investments like this will help to drive growth in the decade ahead. I will continue to back businesses to invest and innovate here in the UK,” said Sunak.

Google’s announcement was made at the World Economic Forum in Davos where Jeremy Hunt attended to meet company bosses as part of a bid to ‘champion British excellence in tech’.

Hunt said: “From business conducted online to advancements in healthcare, every growing economy relies on data centres.

“Our country is no different and this major $1 billion investment from Google is a huge vote of confidence in Britain as the largest tech economy in Europe, bringing with it good jobs and the infrastructure we need to support the industries of the future.”

The news follows Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s memo to employees about expecting more job cuts in 2024.

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Written by Fri 19 Jan 2024

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