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21 Apr 2022

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Google deploys its first green backup batteries for data centers in Belgium

Google today announced that its first battery backup system for data centers is now fully operational. A Google data center in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, hosts the project, which is powered entirely by green energy. The prototype, which has been tested since 2020, will allow Google to run its infrastructures when there is a power outage or a shortage of green power. With the battery installation now up and running, Google is also looking at expanding the backup batteries to data centers in other countries.

Diesel generators

Google will be able to replace its original diesel generators with large-scale batteries. The original emergency generators produced several million watts of electricity in seconds to avoid disrupting operations in the data center. The company now has an environmentally friendly method to maintain Internet connections and keep data accessible.

The Saint-Ghislain data center previously won the EU's Code of Conduct award for its energy efficiency. The site is one of Google's data centers with the largest number of renewable energy installations, with 10,000 solar panels on site.

24/7 green energy

Google's new battery installation allowed it to upgrade its data center infrastructure and cease to rely on generators that require diesel fuel.

The new batteries at Saint-Ghislain store only green energy. During times when renewable energy is in excess, the data center's solar panels and wind turbines provide electricity that is stored in the batteries. At times of the day when there is insufficient electricity production, the batteries release this energy. Furthermore, the batteries provide power to the grid for use in buildings and facilities outside the data center. Partnerships with energy companies like Centrica and Fluence made this possible.

Green energy in Europe and Latin America

In addition to its battery system for data centers in Belgium, Google is also announcing three additional carbon-free energy initiatives today. The first project is a solar energy project in Denmark's Rødby Fjord. A total of 54.4 MW will be added to the 100 MW already used at Google's data center in Fredericia.

In Finland, Google has partnered with Imatar to buy about 60% of Piiparinmäki, the country's largest wind farm, which generates 211 MW. The wind farm has now been fully operational and is supplying power, among other things, to Google's Hamina data center. One of the driving forces behind the wind farm's construction was Google's involvement in the early stages. The estimated annual production in Piiparinmäki can cover the annual consumption of about 36,000 households in Finland. Google's carbon-free energy will also benefit other consumers and businesses.

Last but not least, Google has installed an installation for solar and wind power generation in Quilicura, Chile. Google's first data center in Latin America will produce 110 MW of clean energy with this combined infrastructure. Up to 80% of the site's energy needs will be met by renewable sources.

Photo credit: Google

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