• Data center servers produce a substantial amount of heat while running applications, especially those equipped with AI-optimized chips.
  • As part of the project, Google intends to increase its on-site workforce by 25%, reaching 500 staff members within the next 18 months.

Google LLC plans to invest USD 1.1 billion to expand a data center campus that was established in southern Finland over a decade ago.

A prominent media outlet reported on the plan recently. A Google spokesperson informed the publication that the data center expansion aims to “further unlock the potential of AI,” suggesting the company might install additional machine learning hardware at the facility. Recently, the Alphabet Inc. unit unveiled a new internally developed chip called Trillium, touted as its fastest AI processor to date.

Google did not specify the infrastructure upgrades that the investment will fund. However, the search giant informed that as part of the project, it plans to increase its on-site workforce by 25%, reaching 500 employees over the next 18 months.

The data center campus involved in this initiative is situated in the seaside town of Hamina, about 90 miles east of Helsinki. Google established the facility in 2011 with an initial investment of USD 217.26 million. According to the company’s webpage for the data center, Google has since invested an additional USD 1.96 billion in the campus.

According to the sources, the region has a “good supply of renewable power.” Industry estimates cited by the sources that Finland’s wind power capacity grew by 75% in 2022 alone, reaching 5,677 megawatts. Google aims to power all its operations with renewable energy by the end of the decade.

Data center servers produce a substantial amount of heat when running applications, especially those equipped with AI-optimized chips. Graphics cards have a higher thermal output than central processing units, often necessitating specialized cooling equipment. Google reportedly plans to use the excess heat generated by its Hamina data center to warm nearby buildings.

The search giant’s data center equipment already powers the air conditioning system in its on-site offices. According to sources, Google plans to significantly expand this program by providing the facility’s excess heat to local homes, schools, and public service buildings.

The search giant is collaborating with a local utility run by the Hamina municipality to implement the initiative. The aim is to eventually satisfy 80% of the local district’s annual heating needs. Ben Townsend, Google’s Global Head of Infrastructure Strategy and Sustainability, told a media house that the availability of infrastructure for such heat distribution projects “may start to steer new site selection opportunities” in the future.

The investment follows Google’s announcement about a month ago of plans to allocate USD 2 billion to establish a new data center campus in Indiana. Additionally, the search giant disclosed intentions to invest USD 1 billion to expand three existing data center campuses in Virginia. Just a few days prior, Google outlined a USD 1 billion initiative to construct new subsea internet cables in the Pacific.