Google

Inside Denmark: Google’s European hyperscale data centres and infrastructure ecosystem

Google has invested heavily and widely in data centres and related infrastructures in Europe. Currently, it operates hyperscale data centres across Europe: Fredericia in Denmark, St. Ghislain-Mons in Belgium, Hamina-Kotka in Finland, Dublin in Ireland, and Eemshaven-Groningen and Agriport in the Netherlands.

Denmark: A vital connection in Europe
Denmark is well advanced on a path of digital transformation – capitalising on their current and future infrastructure assets. The country is amongst EU leaders in terms of digital connectivity in the EU. Its Strategy for Denmark’s Digital Growth and its Digitisation pact reflect Danish policymakers active and ambitious stance to continue developing Denmark into a leading digital economy. It also represents a direct acknowledgment of the benefits of digital transformation.

Growth and jobs. Denmark is a gateway to Europe for global network infrastructure, as shown by the case study of Google. The company is now facilitating even greater EU-wide connectivity via Denmark. It has done so as part of a wider infrastructure programme which – specifically over the period 2018 to 2020

Network infrastructure. This digital infrastructure effort includes an important, often underappreciated, part of Google’s European economic contribution, namely the investment in network connectivity such as fibre links spanning the European continent and linking Europe to the global internet.

In addition to the digital transformation supported by Google’s investments, Google’s Fredericia hyperscale data centre is on the forefront of the green transition in digital energy. From day one of operation, its energy demand will be met almost entirely by carbon-free energy, making it one of Google's cleanest data centres anywhere in the world.

Energy efficiency. Every time we as users choose to rely on services provided online, we channel indirect demand for energy. As traditional non-digital activities continue to shift to new digital applications, the way energy is being consumed is changing. The data centre industry has significantly raised its energy efficiency. In fact, recent global research established that while demand for data driven services has increased exponentially (by 550 percent) over the past 10 years, data centre energy usage has remained relatively stable (increasing by only 6 percent). At the same time, there is potential to improve efficiency even further. We estimate that, if across Europe all business email servers were hosted by data centres as efficient as Google’s, this would save the equivalent of the annual household consumption of electricity in Ireland.

Renewable energy. Driving the green revolution forward, Google is also the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy sources. It does so by committing to and signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), key enablers for the renewable energy project developer/investor. As of September 2020, Google had signed 24 PPAs for energy production from European wind and solar farms to match the energy consumption of its data centres. In addition, in September 2020 Google stated that it will be carbon-free by 2030.

The study is commissioned by Google.

For further information and media enquiries regarding the findings of this report, please contact Dr Bruno Basalisco, available at bb@copenhageneconomics.com

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