Heating Up the Community: Google’s Plan to Supply 80% of District Heating Needs

A project that originated from the necessity to regulate the temperature of the data centre operated by the tech giant Google in Hamina, located in the southern region of Finland, has evolved into a comprehensive district energy initiative for the local community. Commencing in the upcoming year, the facility will introduce its inaugural offsite heat recovery project in partnership with the local utility, Haminan Energia.

Google has announced that the heat generated by its Finnish data centre will be reused and distributed for free. The data centre in Hamina operates with 97% carbon-free energy, so the recovered heat will also be 97% carbon-free. According to Haminan Energia, this initiative will fulfil 80% of the local district heating network’s annual demand.

In Hamina, a historic port city on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, Google has established a significant presence. In a company video, operational manager Olavi Kemppi explained that data centres generate a substantial amount of heat as a byproduct. Since 2011, Google has implemented a unique cooling solution by pumping water from the nearby bay to cool down its servers.

“We’ve long wanted to channel our recovered heat offsite to be used by the local community” said Jukka Vainonen, Site Operations Manager. As the Hamina installation is nearing activation, the company is dedicated to extending the use of recovered heat to nearby communities at all of its data centres.

Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen expressed admiration for the impact of a single action, which now allows an entire city to power its district heat distribution using excess heat. He emphasised that this initiative will not only result in cost savings for households but also serve as a significant climate measure.


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