Controversial Facebook mega data center cuts in line for connection to power grid
A mega datacenter for Facebook was given priority over other companies to connect to the electricity network, even though the center would put additional strain on the already overloaded network. Multiple officials within the Ministry of Economic Affairs had voiced their misgivings about the mega datacenter, De Telegraaf reported based on declassified documents.
"The growth of data centers leads to an increase in the use of electricity use. As long as the production is not completely renewable is, this leads to extra CO2 emissions," officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and of Climate wrote in a letter to former Minister of Economic Affairs Eric Wiebes in 2020.
The electricity demand has jumped up in past years and the electricity network has not been able to handle the increase, RTL Nieuws reported in November. The transition to renewable energy also requires a redesign of the electrical infrastructure that is still ongoing.
Facebook received priority over other companies waiting years to connect to the electricity network. The parent company of Facebook, Meta, was granted priority after they threatened to move the data center to a different European location. Officials expressed concerns that now other companies will also demand priority.
Officials also warned that the economic gain of the data center was "limited" and "not in line with existing and planned policy stating hyper-scale data center should be located on the borders of the Netherlands."
The municipality of Zeewold still has to issue a final vote on the data center on December 16. A slight majority of the municipal council appears to be in favor of the center, according to NU.nl.