Google invests in Finnish data center to spur AI growth

Google Carbon reporting

Google will inject an additional 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) into the expansion of its data center campus in Finland, aiming to bolster its artificial intelligence (AI) business growth across Europe, as reported by Reuters.

In recent years, the Nordic countries have become favored locations for data centers due to their cooler climate, tax incentives, and abundant access to renewable energy sources. While Finland has been a particularly attractive destination, its Nordic counterparts, Sweden and Norway, have expressed increasing reservations about hosting such facilities. Some industry experts advocate for redirecting the region’s renewable energy towards high-value products like green steel, which could potentially yield greater economic benefits for the countries involved.

The rapid growth of Finland’s wind power capacity, surging by 75% to reach 5,677 megawatts in 2022 alone, has led to occasional price dips into negative on windy days, according to industry statistics.

Consequently, there remains ample renewable capacity to cater to the needs of data centers like Google’s, which secures wind power in Finland through long-term contracts.

Analysts predict a significant surge in power consumption by data centers, driven by the exponential growth in AI usage. Google has cited this trend as one of the factors influencing its investment decision, in addition to its Hamina data center in Finland already operating with 97% carbon-free energy.

“Heat coming out of our Finnish data center will be re-routed to the district heating network in nearby Hamina, covering local households, schools and public service buildings,” Google said in the statement. It added that it aimed to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations and value chain by 2030.

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