The Dutch government has given Facebook parent Meta a priority to buy power from network operator Tennet for its yet-to-be-built data center in Zeewolde. Tennet would like to keep Facebook shut down due to capacity issues in the Dutch power grid.
who appears from Documents Released on Friday by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the result of a wob-Order from De Telegraaf. Prior to this intervention by the minister, cooperation between Tennet and Facebook, which trades under the pseudonym Tulip, had been “difficult” due to a capacity issue. In addition to the priority, Facebook also wanted to have a power substation nearby. If the requirements are not met, Facebook will continue to search for a location in another country. “[Facebook] A very active lobby group has started and has also reached out to Public Affairs and the Digital Economy Directorate to urge urgency.”
Then-Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate, VVD member Eric Webbes, sent a letter to Tennet last year stating that the creation of Facebook in the Netherlands ‘justified’ that Tennet was ‘breaking away from its usual way of working’. “I ask you to make an effort to build the substation and connect [Facebook] ASAP,” Webbs wrote as well. The prioritization of Facebook meant that all other actions of large electricity consumers ended up on the longer path.
In an advice to Secretary Webs, officials from his department expressed skepticism about the plans. In addition to well-known objections about capacity, officials have argued that the additional task of reducing CO2 will be challenging, that allocating too much green energy would be detrimental to support future investments in green energy and that production targets for green energy are: already far from being achieved. In addition, large energy consumers will receive a “90% discount on prices.”
Officials also noted that allowing a data center to be set up does not fit in with the government’s “spatial policy,” which states that data centers must be located at the edge of the country. There was also a sales freeze of farmland at the time, while the central government owns a large portion of the land for the data center.
The arrival of the data center was not final yet. Zeewolde City Council will decide on December 16 whether Meta may begin construction on the site. The Norwegian Refugee Council writes.
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