Google’s hyperscale data centres and infrastructure ecosystem in Europe

Digital transformation is a defining challenge and opportunity for the European economy, providing the means to reinvent and improve how firms, consumers, governments, and citizens interact and do business with each other. European consumers, firms, and society stand to benefit from the resulting innovative products, processes, services, and business models – contributing to EU productivity.

Our connected devices – computers, smart phones, cars, pacemakers, fridges, robots, etc – can use, and access, the computing power of data centres anywhere and anytime as long as there is an internet connection. That is why this type of computing is called cloud computing, or simply – the Cloud.

The Cloud is a productivity technology, allowing firms to specialise and leverage what they are best at – along the lines of the division of labour process as observed first by seminal economist, Adam Smith. The increased productivity can then bring benefits to firms and consumers, while enabling governments and public bodies to serve better citizens.

However, cloud solutions can only work efficiently and deliver the fullest analytical possibilities if supported by advanced, well connected, and sustainable digital infrastructures, such as those analysed in this study.

Quietly, behind the scenes, data centres perform 24/7 most of the heavy lifting that makes our digital services and devices work and integrate seamlessly.

Google is supporting the growing demand for data driven services. It does so by investing in European digital infrastructures such as six hyperscale high efficiency data centres, a connectivity network linking up European cities and countries to each other and to the world, as well as renewable energy to power the digital services that consumers and firms demand every day.

From 2007-2018, Google has invested EUR 6.9 billion in European data centres and related infrastructure investments. Our input/output model, calibrated based on Eurostat data, quantifies how this investment has yielded an economic and employment impact at the European level. We find that the above investment has supported:

By 2021, Google will have invested around EUR 11.9 billion in European data centre and related infrastructures. Summing up realised effects and the forecast based on committed investments, by 2021 Google will have supported a total of EUR 15.2 billion of economic activity across Europe – corresponding to 13,100 jobs (FTE) per year on average.

Network connectivity is a key area of focus for Google’s infrastructural efforts, due to the importance of the backbone of the internet, linking data centres all the way to the exchange points where retail telecommunications companies take over, and serve retail customers.

Google’s connectivity network past and committed expenditure in Europe is expected to reach EUR 2.9 billion, invested in 2007 – 2020. This is yielding a supported: 

While storing and processing data requires energy, the solutions that Google has introduced brings opportunities to increase the energy efficiency by which data is handled. Since 2017, Google has achieved its target of matching 100% of all its data centres’ and offices with purchases of renewable energy. In doing so, Google has developed the largest portfolio worldwide of corporate renewable Power Procurement Agreements (PPA), by signing:

The study is commissioned by Google.

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