Google today announces a new investment of approximately EUR 600 million to build another data centre on their current site in Saint-Ghislain.
The new fourth construction will bring the total investment in Belgium to EUR 1,6 billion.
Last year Google unveiled the construction of a third data center, operational by the end of this year, and a new solar plant on the land of the data center. Google expects this additional data centre to be ready by 2021.
Why did Google choose Wallonia ? They say on their website that "St. Ghislain has the right combination of energy infrastructure and developable land. The local authorities also have a strong vision for how the internet can bring economic benefits and jobs to the area. The Digital Innovation Valley project has created a cluster of high-tech businesses and put technology at the heart of the education system. As a result, we had a great team of people supporting our investment in the area who were very helpful during the site selection process."
Charles Michel, the exiting Prime Minister : “This new investment in Saint-Ghislain is excellent news for Wallonia and Belgium, and confirms our position as digital pioneers, achieved over the past years. Our country plays a leading role in Europe when it comes to expanding the growing digital economy that creates many new jobs. Our know-how and skilled work force leads to service providers like Google and many start-ups to continue investing and expanding here. Over the past years, Belgium has become increasingly attractive to investors. To maintain our position as a frontrunner, we have to keep reshaping and stepping up on digital innovation.”
Frédéric Descamps, Data Center Facilities Manager - Google
"We’re proud to call Belgium home for 12 years now and look forward to many more."
Frédéric Descamps, Data Center Facilities Manager, adds: “Google’s commitment to Belgium is unwavering. Today’s EUR 600 million expansion brings our total investment to EUR 1.6 billion. Additionally, we actively support local NGOs, community groups, schools and businesses in the St. Ghislain and Mons area. We’re proud to call Belgium home for 12 years now and look forward to many more.”
Caroline Decamps, director general of investment agency IDEA: “This new investment by Google again creates new jobs, and does this in a sustainable way. That’s very positive news for our region. Digital plays a key role in local economic development, and the presence of Google is part of a wider trend, seeing research centers, universities and start-ups work together to make the most of the digital opportunity.”
Philippe De Backer, the exit-ing Minister of Digital Agenda: “We are convinced that artificial intelligence and the transition to the digital economy must play a central role in our country's strategy. By doing so, we can improve our standard of living with better healthcare and environmental protection, create new jobs and keep Belgium competitive. Infrastructure such as the Google data centers are also essential in this respect. We are therefore very pleased that Google has decided to continue investing in Belgium with an additional data center of EUR 600 million.”
Did you know ?
Google builds sustainability into everything we do. The company has been carbon-neutral since 2007 and reached the target of 100% renewable energy for its global operations in 2017, including data centers and offices. This means that Google matches 100% of electricity use from operations with renewable energy purchases.
Google’s first data center in Europe opened in 2009 in Saint-Ghislain in the presence of King Albert II.
It was the first Google data center worldwide to run entirely without refrigeration, using instead an advanced evaporative cooling system that draws grey water from the nearby industrial canal reducing overall energy use.
The whole site currently employs around 350 people in full time and contractor roles - from computer technicians to electrical and mechanical engineers, to security, catering and facilities management.
In 2018, following an investment of EUR 3M, a new solar facility was installed generating 2.8 megawatts of clean and reliable renewable energy every year used in
Google’s Belgian data center.