Google to invest $700 million in Danish data centre

US tech giant Google is to invest 4.5 billion kroner (just under $700 million) on a data centre at Taulov near Fredericia.

Google to invest $700 million in Danish data centre
The site of the planned Google data centre at Taulov near Fredericia. Photo: Peter Leth-Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The company purchased 73 hectares of land at the site in 2015 and on Monday announced plans to build its first Danish data centre at the location.

“The Fredericia data center will be among the most energy efficient data centers in Denmark to date, taking advantage of advanced machine learning to make sure every watt of electricity counts,” Google's vice president for global data centres, Joe Kava, wrote in a blog post on the company’s website on Tuesday.

Director of Google Denmark Malou Aamund said in a press statement that the decision to place the data centre at Fredericia was evidence of Google’s commitment to Denmark.

“It will create new Danish jobs and make a positive contribution to the economy, both locally and in the rest of the country,” Aamund said via a press statement.

Fredericia’s mayor Jacob Bjerregaard welcomed the announcement and said that the city had been working with Google for four years.

“I am hugely pleased and proud that Google has been able to invest 4.5 billion kroner in Fredericia Municipality – not least when you think about the jobs that will bring,” Bjerregaard said.

1,500 construction workers will be involved in transforming the area into a complex of several-storeyed buildings.

The first section of the data centre is expected to be completed by 2020, with between 150 and 250 engineers, electricians and data specialists ready to begin work at the site in 2021.

The investment has been estimated to create a potential 700 jobs including services and auxiliary roles.

The tech firm has said it is taking into account the environmental impact of the centre.

“In Fredericia, Google is committed to matching its energy use with 100 percent carbon-free energy,” Kava wrote.

“This commitment includes the electricity use of our data centers, too. We’re pursuing new investment opportunities… in Danish renewable energy projects like onshore wind, offshore wind and solar energy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bjerregaard said that no specific demands on use of surplus energy were made in the agreement between Google and Fredericia Municipality.

“We are very keen for Google to supply surplus energy to the district heating network,” he said.

“So we will do all we can to make that happen, but that also means regulations have to be good enough, and that’s a problem to be solved at Christiansborg [the parliament in Copenhagen, ed.],” he said.

The mayor cited levies on surplus energy and the issue of whether there was enough demand to use it locally as potential issues.

READ ALSO: Danish data centres unlikely to make use of surplus power: report


Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music

The government is to forward a bill on Friday proposing tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay Danish media for using content on their platforms.

Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music
File photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will also mean platforms used to share media, such as YouTube, will be required to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

A comparable law recently took effect in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked for Facebook users in the southern hemisphere country.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark force Facebook to pay for news content?

“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an infrormed basis,”culture minister Joy Mogensen said in the statement.

“If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use,” she added.

The proposal will provide for rights holders such as musicians or media outlets to be given a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can use their content.

As such, companies like Facebook and Google will need permission to use the content online.

The Danish proposal builds on an EU directive which gives individual media outlets the right to agree deals with tech giants.

The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to make a collective agreement with the tech companies providing for payment when their content is used.

An interest organisation for Danish media companies has backed the proposal.

“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position,” Louise Brincker, CEO of Danske Medier, told newspaper Berlingske. Brincker noted she had not yet read the full proposal.

Media will not be obliged to make agreements with the tech companies, however. Complaints to the Danish copyright board, Ophavsretslicensnævnet, will be possible under the new law, should it be passed by parliament.

The bill will become law on June 7th should it receive the backing of a parliamentary majority.

Both Facebook and Google decline to comment to Berlingske on the matter, stating they had yet to see the bill in full.