Google

Inside Finland: 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.

Finland: A vital connection in Europe
Finland is well placed on the path of digital transformation. The Finnish government has recognised the value of the digital platform economy and acknowledged it as essential to remain agile and competitive. Additionally, public sector organisations in Finland are considered pioneers when it comes to providing digital services to citizens. This is supported by the legislation on the provision of digital Services (enforced 1.4.2019), making authorities obliged to provide their customers with accessible and high-quality digital services and enable electronic transactions.

Growth and jobs. Google is facilitating even greater EU-wide connectivity via Finland. It has done so as part of a wider infrastructure programme which

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 Hamina hyperscale data centre is on the forefront of the green transition in digital energy. The Hamina data centre was the first in the world to run using an advanced sea water cooling system based on water directly from the Bay of Finland.

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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