Google has revealed plans to invest $1 billion in the construction of a new data centre just outside of London, marking its latest substantial investment in the UK amid the increasing demand for internet services in the region.
The U.S. technology giant disclosed this information on Thursday, emphasizing its commitment to meeting the burgeoning need for online services.
Situated on a 33-acre (13-hectare) site acquired by Google in 2020, the data centre is set to be located in Waltham Cross, a town approximately 15 miles north of central London, Debbie Weinstein, Vice President of Google and Managing Director of Google UK & Ireland, said in a blog post.
“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,” UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.
This financial commitment follows Google’s $1 billion acquisition of a central London office building near Covent Garden in 2022, along with another site in the nearby King’s Cross area, where the company is constructing a new office and where its artificial intelligence subsidiary, DeepMind, is headquartered.
The announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft’s recent revelation of plans to inject £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) into the UK over three years, earmarked for expanding its data centre capacity to support future artificial intelligence services, Reuters news report said.
Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, commenting on the new data centre initiative, stated, “This new data centre will help meet growing demand for our AI and cloud services and bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK while creating construction and technical jobs.”
With over 7,000 employees in Britain, Google highlighted its commitment to sustainability, mentioning that the waste heat generated from the data centre would be utilized for energy conservation, providing a positive impact on the local community.
In 2022, Google announced a power purchase agreement with energy major ENGIE for offshore wind energy generated by the Moray West wind farm in Scotland. This agreement will add 100 MW of energy to the grid, and put Google’s UK operations on track to operate at or near 90 percent carbon-free energy in 2025.
In 2021, Google laid a new subsea cable — Grace Hopper — which connects the United Kingdom with the United States and Spain. Google has visited more than 500 locations across the UK since 2015 and provided over 1 million people with free digital skills training.
Last year, Google expanded Google Digital Garage training programme to also include a new AI-focussed curriculum to enable more Brits to tap into the opportunities to benefit from the opportunities created by this technology.