Google invests €1 billion in new data centre in poorest Walloon area

Google invests €1 billion in new data centre in poorest Walloon area
Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

American technology company Google has started construction of a second data centre in Belgium, in Farciennes in the Hainaut province. It involves a total investment of €1 billion, which Google will also use to expand its already existing data centre site in Belgium.

This new €1 billion investment brings Google's total investment in Belgium to €5 billion. The company has already had a data centre in Saint-Ghislain, also in Hainaut, since 2010 – which will now also be expanded while the construction of the new one started today and will take several years.

"Additional data centres are needed due to the growing demand for digital applications from people, businesses and public authorities," Google's Michiel Sallaets told VRT.

The company is aiming for complete zero emissions by 2030. "Making our data centres as sustainable as possible is very important," said Sallaets, adding that the solar park at the Saint-Ghislain site is also being expanded.

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"Additionally, with the data centres we are building now, we want to be able to give back the heat released when cooling our servers," he added. "For example, to local governments or communities in which we operate."

The new site in Farciennes – which is Wallonia's poorest municipality – will also create new jobs. "Once this new data centre is operational, we are thinking of about 100 permanent jobs," said Sallaets. "This will involve technicians managing the servers, as well as employees for catering, maintenance and security."

The data centre in Saint-Ghislain currently employs more than 400 people. After the expansion of that site, about 100 jobs will be added there as well.

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