Google has announced plans to invest $1 billion to set up a data centre in the UK to boost AI innovation and support its Google Cloud customers, according to Network World.

To be located on a 33-acre site in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, near London, the announcement about Google’s new data centre comes at a time when the UK is trying to position itself as a leader in technology. Whilst this will be Google’s first data centre in the UK, the company has been present in this country for two decades and already employs about 7,000 people here.

“This new data centre will help meet the growing demand for our AI and cloud services and bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK while creating construction and technical jobs for the local community,” said Ruth Porat, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google.

“The UK is a fantastic place to invest, and Google’s $1 billion investment is a testament to the fact that the UK is a centre of excellence in technology and has a huge potential for growth,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a press statement.

This announcement comes close to Microsoft’s investment of $3.2 billion over the next three years in the UK to boost its own AI data centre infrastructure.

The new data centre facility will deploy an air-based cooling solution, in line with its commitment to run its data center on Carbon-Free Energy (CFE).

“Capturing data centre heat represents an opportunity for energy conservation and can benefit the local community,” said the press release.

Google has set the target of net-zero carbon emissions across its operations by 2030.