Meta’s plans to build a Dutch data center hit a political snag, CIO News, ET CIO

By Anthony Deutsch

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Senate on Tuesday passed a motion calling on the government to “use its powers” ​​to temporarily block construction of the giant data center planned by Facebook owner Meta in the Netherlands.

In December, the town of Zeewolde, 50km east of Amsterdam, approved plans to build the largest such facility in the Netherlands, from which Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp would serve users. from all over Europe.

The facility, which will use 1.38 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity and cover 166 hectares (410 acres) of agricultural land, is expected to run on green energy and create 400 permanent jobs.

It has been opposed by some environmental activists who do not want the limited supply of sustainable energy currently produced in the country to be used by a multinational.

A majority of parties in the Senate on Tuesday backed a proposal in which the government led by Prime Minister Mark Rutte was asked to put the project on hold until a national data center policy was developed.

The motion called on the government to delay construction until it can be determined whether the data center meets environmental regulations and the still-undetermined national facility policy.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rutte’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and another ruling coalition party, the Christian Democrats, voted against the motion.

“This is a purely political decision,” Dutch Data Center Association chief executive Stijn Grove said in a reaction sent to Reuters, adding that it was taken “in large part because it is Facebook,” which faces a backlash against Big Tech as a whole.

Not only are large data centers more efficient and environmentally friendly, he said, but they are needed to improve Europe’s digital infrastructure, which lags behind America. North and Asia.

Grove said the Netherlands could not have the ambition to be a digital leader without supporting the required infrastructure.

Around 60 data center operators in the Netherlands account for around 2.8% of national electricity consumption, the association said.

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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