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Microsoft invests £2.5bn in Swedish data centre

Written by Wed 5 Jun 2024

Microsoft has announced a £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) investment in a its Swedish data centres, marking the company’s largest investment in the country to date.

Bloomberg reported Microsoft’s new investment will enhance its three existing data centres in Sweden by adding 20,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) and committing to train 250,000 individuals in essential artificial intelligence (AI) skills.

At a press conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson,  Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President, Brad Smith, highlighted the significance of this investment. Smith stated the sizeable investment reflects Microsoft’s confidence in Sweden’s potential to leverage AI for national benefit. He also emphasised Sweden’s position as one of Europe’s most innovative countries, arguing that continued leadership hinges on the effective use of AI.

“AI is a tech transformation that should be seen as a multiplier or catalyst … It is part of the strategy going forward when, after successfully fighting inflation, we enter a new phase, an investment phase,” said Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Sweden.

This investment is in line with Microsoft’s recently stated goal of doubling data centre capacity by the end of this year, to meet growing demand for AI-focused data centre services.

The data centres marked for expansion are located in Sandviken, Gavle, and Staffanstorp. At its 2019 launch, the Staffanstorp region was called ‘the best of Microsoft’s sustainability investments … underscoring Microsoft’s ongoing investment to help create new long-term opportunities across both commercial and public sectors in Sweden’.

The company took the opportunity to discuss its commitment to increasing investment across the entire Nordic region, noting upcoming plans to improve data centre capacity in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway.

Environmental Commitment

The expansion of sustainable data centre investments in Sweden comes on the heels of a more troubling disclosure: that Microsoft’s carbon emissions from data centres increased by 30% between 2020 and 2023. Expanding its footprint in areas rich in renewable energy, with strong green initiatives, is part of Microsoft’s strategy to reduce and control reliance on fossil fuels.

In April, Microsoft said it plans to more than double its existing data centre capacity this year to meet a sharp spike in expected demand driven by cross-industry AI adoption

Earlier this year, Microsoft also committed £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) to its German data centres, £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) in Indonesia, and £1.7 billion ($2.2 billion) in Malaysia, all in line with the AI growth strategy aimed at tripling its data centre capacity by mid-2025.

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Written by Wed 5 Jun 2024

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