The Dutch government is said to have arranged priority access to the power grid for a Facebook data center near Zeewolde that is yet to be built. This is apparent from documents from a Wob request from De Telegraaf.
Government documents requested by the morning newspaper show that the Dutch government has given Meta, Facebook's parent company, priority for access to Tennet's electricity network. This is for the purchase of power for a data center that is yet to be built in Zeewolde. In addition, a special energy substation is being built next to the data center by the network operator.
In concrete terms, according to the documents, it was a personal intervention by former minister Eric Wiebes of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK). The intervention followed tense negotiations between the network manager and Meta. Tennet would object to these requirements, since the Dutch electricity network is already overstretched and other large consumers would also like to have a connection.
Meta stated that if priority was not given for the data center still to be built and no special substation was installed, the tech giant would look for a location in another country that would meet the requirements.
Meta . lobby
The minister's intervention followed an intensive lobby by Meta at various Dutch ministries, including that of the Prime Minister, General Affairs. In a letter to network manager Tennet, in which the Dutch government is a major shareholder and overseen by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Wiebes stated that the priority given to Meta 'is justified for a deviation from the normal working method' and that the network manager must do everything in its power. to connect Meta to the electricity network and construct the substation.
Many objections from officials
According to the documents that have now been released, the minister disregarded the advice of his officials. They were very skeptical about the capacity that the data center should have. In addition, they doubted whether Meta would be able to achieve the stated CO2 reduction and that the allocation of so much green energy to the company could be detrimental to future support for investing in green energy. In addition, officials indicated that the production targets for green electricity are currently far from being achieved. As a major energy consumer, Meta would also receive a 90 percent discount on the rates. According to the officials, this discount could also lead to skewed eyes.
Furthermore, the construction of the data center does not fit in with the data center policy of the Dutch government, officials indicate. Data centers should mainly be located on the fringes of the country. In addition, at the time of the application, there was a stop to the sale of agricultural land, while the Dutch government owns a large part of the land for the data center in question itself.
Former minister Wiebes put the objections aside and urged Tennet to comply quickly with Meta's requirements. The only objection to the construction of the former minister's data center was that it was not clear whether the residual heat could be used for other purposes, such as heating.
Tip: Zeewolde gets a data center, Facebook lays claim to the construction