Google invests 1 billion euros in Belgian data centers

Google is building a new data center and expanding the existing center in Saint-Ghislain. The company is investing 1 billion euros for this.

1 billion euros: that is how much Google invests in data centers in Belgium. Part of that investment will benefit the data center Saint-Ghislain in the province of Hainaut. However, the lion’s share of the investment must be used to set up an additional data center in Farciennes, Hengouw.


Whether it concerns private individuals or companies: digital applications are becoming increasingly popular. Whether it is TikTok or YouTube, ChatGPT or Google Docs: all these applications need computing power. In the distant past, computing power was sought on your own device, but that has long been a thing of the past. Computing power is now being sought on servers, also known as “in the cloud”. In recent years, more and more companies have started to focus on data centers. This way they do not have to provide server infrastructure themselves, but can rent it from providers such as Google.

Since 2010, there has been such a data center in Saint-Ghislain, in Hainaut. The YouTube videos you watch, as well as all your conversations with the Google chatbot Gemini, run on those servers. The need for computing power will only increase in the coming years. That partly depends AI-systemen, which require large amounts of computing power to arrive at answers. On the other hand, digital media is becoming increasingly important in digital life: this also means that more data center capacity is needed.

Additional capacity needed

Google will find this extra capacity by expanding the existing data center in Saint-Ghislain. In addition, Google is starting the construction of a second data center in Farciennes. The construction of that data center will take several years.

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200 new jobs

The new data center, which will take a number of years to be built, offers many possibilities for the region. Farciennes is the poorest municipality in Wallonia, but the nearby data center could revive the region. The data center would be good for about 100 permanent jobs. After the expansion, about 100 jobs will also be added in Saint-Ghislain.

Limited impact on the climate

In addition, Google’s project is also important for the energy transition. Data centers produce a lot of heat. Compare it to your mobile phone that heats up when you play a game: that also happens in the data center, but much more intensely. The new building in Farciennes will be ready for off-site heat recovery, allowing the people of Farciennes to use it to heat their homes. There will also be solar panels on the roof, as is already the case in Saint-Ghislain. There will also be a lot of solar panels, good for 1.4 MW.

Google makes a lot of efforts in the field of climate. The company therefore wants to limit the ecological impact of the new and existing data center. By 2024, Google is estimated to use nearly 85% carbon-free energy. The goal is to eventually become 100% carbon-free 24/7.

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