Google to plough $1billion into a Hertfordshire data centre to power 'helpful' services
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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has said the company’s plan for the Waltham Cross site ‘reflects the success of the UK tech sector’ in a post on X.
The new data centre – which costs the equivalent of £788million – will go on land at Maxwell’s Farm, next to the A10 Great Cambridge Road.
Debbie Weinstein, Google vice president and managing director in the UK and Ireland, set out the decision in a blog post on Thursday (January 18) – the fourth day of the World Economic Forum’s Davos 2024 in Switzerland.
She said: “As more people tap into the opportunities created by the country’s digital economy and we unlock new ways for AI-powered technologies to boost productivity, fuel creativity, improve health outcomes and unlock scientific discoveries, it’s vital that we invest in the technical infrastructure needed to support innovation and tech-led growth.
“One of the ways that we’re doing this is by investing $1bn in a new UK data centre in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire.
“The 33-acre site will create construction and technical jobs for the local community. Once complete, this investment will bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK, supporting AI innovation and helping to ensure reliable digital services to Google Cloud customers and Google users in the UK and abroad.”
Ms Weinstein said the brand, which is owned by Alphabet Inc, is ‘exploring new and innovative ways to use the heat generated by data centres, and this new facility will also have provisions for off-site heat recovery’.
She added: “Off-site heat recovery presents an opportunity for energy conservation that benefits the local community, as it allows us to capture the heat generated by the data centre so that it can be used by nearby homes and businesses.”
HM Treasury posted on x.com: “‘Hey Google, can you tell me about a large tech company investing in the UK and creating high-quality jobs?’
“‘We’re making a $1bn investment in a new data centre in Hertfordshire, powering crucial Google services and creating new roles in jobs like engineering.’”
The spoken command “Hey Google” activates Google Assistant if it is enabled on devices such as smart watches, phones and smart speakers.
Mr Hunt wrote on x.com: “Delighted to see this investment from Google.
“Reflects the success of the UK tech sector, which is now the third largest in the world after the US and China – worth over $1trillion and double the size of anywhere else in Europe.”
Broxbourne Borough Council granted planning permission for the data centre in a decision in November.
Council leader Lewis Cocking 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.”