Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has revealed that the company is now doubling the EUR 600 million investment to expand its data centre operations in Hamina, southern Finland, which was announced in May this year. Speaking at a press conference held with Finland’s prime minister Antti Rinne in Helsinki on 20 September 2019, Pichai stated that the new data centre will bring the total investments made by Google in Hamina to EUR 2 billion since 2009.
“We have found Finland to have a very supportive infrastructure, it’s very welcoming for us to be able to make investments,” said Pichai. “Our Hamina data centre is our most state-of-the-art data centre, and so we found it easy to invest more and expand, and I thank the government for its very supportive policies, which make it possible,” said Pichai.
Pichai also said that he was “impressed” by Finland’s focus on artificial intelligence training.
Rinne noted that Google’s continuing investments demonstrate Finland’s attractiveness as an investment destination. “Our strengths are stability, security, high-level know-how, well-functioning and efficient administration, and a strong trust between individuals and the state,” said Rinne at the press conference.
Google is also investing into two Finnish wind power projects that will produce a total of 250 MW of electricity. According to Pichai, the Hamina data centre is a significant driver of economic growth and opportunity that also serves as a model of sustainability and energy efficiency for Googles other data centres.
“In Finland, we are committing to two new wind energy projects that will more than double our renewable energy capacity in the country, and ensure we continue to match almost all of the electricity consumption at our Finnish data centre with local carbon-free sources, even as we grow our operations,” said Pichai in a statement.
Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org, innovation foundation Nesta and Finland’s largest labour confederation SAK are also launching a program called FutureFit that empowers workers with new skills that support them to adapt to changes in their workplace. The program will also work with trade unions in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium
According to SAK, the program will provide training to workers whose jobs are changing fastest as a result of automation or digitalisation — for example, people working in administrative roles, manufacturing and the service industry.
“Promoting solid digital skills for everyone is vital in today’s fast-changing society and at Google, we are committed to working with partners to do our part,” says Antti Järvinen, Country Manager of Google Finland in a statement.
“Just two weeks ago, we were fortunate to be able to open our first Digital Skills Hub in Helsinki jointly with partners such as the City of Helsinki and Finnish Entrepreneurs, and now – with Nesta on board – we are pleased to be able to continue the great work we started with SAK last year.”