Google has started building a new data centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire with $1 billion of investment.

The data centre will be located on a 33-acre site that Google purchased in October 2020.

The tech giant’s data centres power Google Cloud, Workspace – which includes Gmail, Docs, Sheets and more – search and maps.

It said continued investment in technical infrastructure, including its data centres, plays a critical role in supporting the company’s artificial intelligence innovations and growing cloud needs in the UK.

“People and organisations worldwide rely on Google’s data centres daily for the digital services they use,” said Ruth Porat, president & chief investment officer, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google. 

“The Waltham Cross data centre represents our latest investment in the UK and the wider digital economy at large. This investment builds upon our Saint Giles and Kings Cross office developments, our multi-year research collaboration agreement with the University of Cambridge, and the Grace Hopper subsea cable that connects the UK with the United States and Spain. 

“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 for the local community. 

“Together with the UK government, we are working to make AI more helpful and accessible for people and organisations across the country.”

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Google is pursuing net-zero emissions across its operations and value chain by 2030, supported by an ambitious goal to run all of its data centres and campuses on carbon-free energy (CFE), every hour of every day. 

In support of this goal, in 2022 Google announced a power purchase agreement with ENGIE for offshore wind energy generated by the Moray West wind farm in Scotland. This agreement adds 100 MW of carbon-free energy to the grid, and puts Google’s UK operations on track to operate at or near 90% carbon-free energy in 2025.

Additionally, the new facility will be ready for off-site heat recovery. Capturing data centre heat represents an opportunity for energy conservation and can benefit the local community. The data centre will deploy an air-based cooling solution.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The UK is a fantastic place to invest, and Google’s $1bn investment is testament to the fact that the UK is a centre of excellence in technology and has huge potential for growth.

“Foreign investment creates jobs and grows all regions of our economy and investments like this will help to drive growth in the decade ahead. I will continue to back businesses to invest and innovate here in the UK.”

Councillor Lewis Cocking, leader of Broxbourne Council said: “I am delighted that Google has chosen Broxbourne for its new data centre. This is a sign of Broxbourne’s growing importance as a hub for technology and innovation. 

“Through this development and others, this part of the Borough is attracting millions of pounds of investment which will improve the local economy and create thousands of jobs. 

“The Council is committed to working with our partners to make this, and other developments, a great success for everyone involved.”

Google has been operating in the UK for over 20 years, and currently employs over 7,000 people in the country.

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