Google to drop a cool €600m to expand its Finland data center

Google data center spend becomes Hamina's largest investment ever. And it will create some jobs, according to Google.

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Google will spend €600 million or about $670 million to build a new data centre in Hamina, a coastal town to in the south of Finland close to the Russian border. 

The site has been occupied by Google since 2009 and the expansion brings its investment in Hamina to €1.4 billion following its €450m spend in 2013 on top of €200m to buy the property and €150m it spent on restoring its Scandinavian server farm.   

Data centers bring relatively few jobs to areas they're located in, however Finnish officials told the national broadcaster YLE this is the largest single investment ever made in Hamina, while Google officials say it will create jobs. 

SEE: Cloud v. data center decision (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Hamina's municipal head Hannu Muhonen said Google's spend "is the largest ever single investment in Hamina's history and it will have a positive effect on employment during the construction phase and after." 

The need for Google's services is growing day by day said Google's Finland director Antti Järvinen. 

"We are building our data centre infrastructure to meet this need, which in turn has a positive impact on the Finnish economy, including through the creation of jobs," he said.

Google's Hamina data center uses seawater from the Bay of Finland for cooling and, while it is powered by Finland's standard grid, the advertising giant has locked in a decade-long purchase power agreement (PPA) deal with Swedish wind farms to account for its energy consumption. 

Google's investments in the Hamina facility are huge when compared to the local population of just over 20,000 people. But the impact of the global tech industry has not always been so positive on the small Scandinavian nation. 

Hamina is about 160km from Espoo, home of the once-great phone maker, Nokia, which got wiped out by Apple's iPhone and the legion of phones run on Google's Android. 

Google bought the Hamina property from Stora Enso, a Finish corporate giant that operated a paper mill in the region. 

Finland's former prime minister Alexander Stubb famously blamed the iPad and iPhone for not only destroying its greatest export, Nokia, but also harming the nation's paper industry, which is a key supplier of paper products across Europe. 

Microsoft of course bought Nokia and its 25,000 employees in 2014 to bolster its struggling Windows Phone platform, but a year later wrote down much of that multi-billion dollar bet on mobile and laid off thousands of employees. Finnish marketing outfit HMD Global is now using the Nokia brand in a bid to capture part of the large but stalling smartphone market.