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Meta Halts Plans for Large Dutch Data Center on Rising Opposition

·1 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. has paused plans to build a large data center in the Netherlands after the tech giant faced increasing opposition from the government.

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The parent company of Facebook said it had been invited in 2019 by the local, provincial and national governments to consider a data center investment in the Netherlands in the region of Zeewolde. The previous local council had already approved a zoning plan for the so-called hyperscale data center, but last week the Dutch Senate voted in favor of a motion to reconsider the plan.

Meta also faced opposition at the local level after the party Leefbaar Zeewolde, which led an election campaign on opposition to the investment, recently gained a majority of seats in the municipality. Objections to the data center focus on environmental concerns and whether its construction would clash with the country’s national vision for sustainability.

“We strongly believe in being good neighbors, so from day one of this journey we stressed a good fit between our project and the community is foremost among the criteria we consider when initiating and continuing our development processes,” a Meta spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “Given the current circumstances, we have decided to pause our development efforts in Zeewolde.”

Meta said it will continue to work closely with the municipality as it determines next steps.

In February, the Dutch government announced a nine-month block on permits for data centers larger than 10 hectares. The Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning, Hugo De Jonge, cited a lack of space in the Netherlands and the “disproportionate amount” of renewable energy that hyperscale data centers consume as causes for concern.

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