Silicon Valley giant Google Inc. has announced plans to invest $1.2 billion in building two new clean-energy data centers in Germany, one in Hanau near Frankfurt and the other in the Greater Berlin region.
The move is a continuation of Alphabet giant’s corporate strategy to support global efforts to achieve a carbon footprint in its business.
The electricity used in data centers remains one of the fastest sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally, especially with the daily increase in Internet users.
The data facility in Hanau is only 20 kilometres away from the world’s largest internet hub DE-CIX, said Philipp Justus, Google’s head of Central Europe.
He added that the four-storey building, with an area of about 10,000 square meters, will start operating at full capacity next year.
Analysts stressed that Google is the only company among the technology giants that has invested heavily in clean energy, despite attempts by competitors such as Amazon.
In parallel, Google will create a new “cloud area” in Berlin-Brandenburg although it has not specified exactly where it will set up the new data centre.
The main purpose of Google’s cloud areas is to bring the company’s services closer to its customers, as this would greatly improve the speed of data transmission compared to the transmission of data across the Atlantic.
Using data centers in the US can also cause legal and regulatory complications when it comes to servicing European customers.
A large part of Google’s investment goes to the production of renewable energy, because its data centers are huge consumers of electricity.
Google said its German energy partner, Engie Deutschland, would supply the German grid with more than 140 megawatts of solar and wind energy in the coming years.
This includes a new 39 MW photovoltaic power plant and the maintenance of 22 wind farms.
These investments are to ensure that as of 2022, about 80 percent of the energy supplied to Google’s infrastructure will come from carbon dioxide-free sources.
In addition to the environmental impact of switching to alternative energy sources, Google’s decision contributes to investing in solar and wind energy to enhance the economic impact of clean energy.