Google has opened a €600 million ($635m) data center in the Netherlands, two years after plans for a facility in the port of Eemshaven, Groningen were announced.

The new data center will run fully on renewable energy when it comes online, primarily from North Sea wind turbines.

Google Oregon data center
Google’s Oregon data center – Google

The Dutch touch

The project is expected to create 200 jobs, and Google has announced community initiatives including teaching kids coding at Hanze Hogeschool, and training students and entrepreneurs in digital skills with the Digitale Werkplaats. 

“This shows that this region has a lot to offer to international and IT companies,” Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp said at the opening ceremony. He added that roughly twenty international companies were eying investment in the area.

6 million work hours went into the Groningen data center, Google said, which houses some 16,000 km of cables. The facility uses both water from household waste and cold air for cooling, and will primarily be powered by energy from the Delfzijl wind farm.

Back in 2014, Google signed a ten year power purchasing agreement with Dutch utility Eneco to power the facility.

“We sign these contracts for a few reasons,” Google infrastructure director Francois Sterin said to DCD at the time.

“They make great financial sense for us by guaranteeing a long term source of clean energy for our data center and they also increase the amount of renewable energy available in the grid, which is great for the environment.”

Sterin was at DCD Zettastructure this year, where he also talked about the efficiency of modern data centers, and how energy usage had only grown slightly over the last few years.

He said: “This is important because it shows the skeptics that data centers are not the next big polluter. We are showing the way as an industry sector that can grow sustainably.”

Last week, Google promised to run its entire operation on renewable energy starting next year, and has plans to reduce the physical waste created by data centers.