Google’s Largest European Data Centre Faces Hurdles Before Being Built At €1.2bn
A €1.2bn Google data centre in the village of Bissen, Luxembourg is at the centre of a potential battle royale over its effect on the environment and the everyday goings-on at its planned new home.
The 323,000 square foot data centre was first mooted over two years ago and since then Google has acquired the land, but so far no ground has been broken because its scale has seemingly put the frighteners on some politicians.
Earlier this year the local council responsible for approving the project saw half of its members abstain from a vote on approving provisional plans for the data centre, as they were fearful that infrastructure and logistics around the site were not good enough.
The mammoth facility will not even have a rail link connected anywhere near it, for instance, and council members are concerned that if other technology businesses spring up around the site, which commonly happens with new data centre operations in Europe, the town of Bissen will be poorly served on the transport front.
But the sheer amount of water and electricity that would be used by the data centre is also causing the sweats among the authorities. Not only has Google now confirmed the estimated cost of the project, it has also been revealed that the facility will use 10% of the total water consumption of the whole country, and more electricity than the country’s capital Luxembourg City.
Google downplayed the environmental impact of the scheme in an interview with broadcaster RTL but the exposure could potentially bring out opponents to the scheme, particularly as there were initial concerns about Google drawing its water needs directly from the river the facility is located near.
The broadcast was the first time that Google had talked publicly about Bissen, that would require the local power grid to be upgraded to cope.
Google is now planning to hold a meeting with citizens of the local village tomorrow to answer their questions about its plans, which would not see any actual construction beginning until 2023.
Google regional director for data centre location strategy Fabien Vieau told RTL: “We don’t have enough information to take a [final] decision [on going ahead with the project]. That said, we are still very interested in Luxembourg and we would be very happy to see it through one day.”
The site would need an estimated 10m litre of water per day to cool servers, which is estimated to be around 10% of the country’s overall water consumption. Vieau maintained that Google’s cooling system would have a “non-measurable” impact on the water quality and temperature of the local Alzette river.
Water would be drawn directly from the Alzette with a chunk of it sent back out into the river.
Industry: Data Centre / Data Center
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