Microsoft to spend $3.2B on expanding cloud and AI in green energy-rich Sweden

Budget to be blown on construction and 20K GPUs among other things in the next 2 years

Just weeks after reporting a hike in carbon dioxide emissions for 2023, Microsoft says it will invest $3.2 billion in Sweden over the next two years, expanding its cloud and AI operations in the country.

Company President Brad Smith confirmed Microsoft's plans at a press conference today alongside Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Calling it "Microsoft's largest investment in our history in Sweden," Smith said Redmond would be expanding its three datacenter regions in the country.

illustration of conceptual carbon footprint

Microsoft's carbon emissions up nearly 30% thanks to AI


Smith didn't fully outline what precisely the $3.2 billion budget would be spent on, but mentioned some of the main costs for the datacenter expansion proposal would be construction, the purchase of 20k GPUs, and the training of 250k Swedes in AI, from basic to specialized skills.

When asked about what kinds of chips Microsoft would be deploying in Sweden, Smith said it would be "chips like the Nvidia H100." He also added that "you will see us increasingly diversify the chips that we have… we've been public about being very bullish on Nvidia but also AMD and ultimately some of our own chips as well."

It isn't clear whether Smith meant GPUs in particular or spoke about "chips" in general to include CPUs and other processors as well. We've asked Microsoft to clarify this point.

One of the key reasons why Microsoft has decided to spend so much on Sweden, Smith confirmed, was due to its abundance of green energy. Relying on renewable energy sources sits well with Microsoft's public commitment to green energy and also provides its datacenters with the power they need, which in the long term is expected to be quite substantial.

In May, Microsoft revealed that AI has increased the carbon emissions from its datacenters: between 2020 to the first half of 2023, Redmond's emissions shot up by 30 percent; expanding into Sweden may help the corp get its consumption of fossil fuels under control.

The investment in Sweden is just the latest for Microsoft. This year, it set aside $3.4 billion for its German datacenters, $1.7 billion in Indonesia, and most recently $2.2 billion in Malaysia.

The intent by Microsoft is to get closer to accomplishing its goal of tripling datacenter capacity by the first half of next year. That's not a ton of time for the tech corp's Swedish investments to kick in before the deadline comes, but expanding existing datacenters may factor into Microsoft achieving its goal.

Other tech giants are also boosting their investments in Scandanavia, with Google last month vowing to spend €1 billion ($1.08 billion) on datacenter expansion in Finland, using thermal energy created by the accelerators to heat local homes. ®

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