Friday 07 May 2021

More questions about Hollands Kroon data centre expansion plans

Arial photo showing two of the data centres already operating in Hollands Kroon. Photo: Your Captain ANP

The province of Noord Holland has asked the state attorney to look into permits for building five more large data centres in the local authority area of Hollands Kroon, the Telegraaf reported on Monday.

The province wants the government lawyer to decide if Hollands Kroon has acted within the law in granting permits for the data farms, which will cover an additional 160 hectares when completed, the paper said.

Data farms are huge consumers of energy and, the paper says, will use up much of the electricity from massive wind turbines in the area, which were sold to locals as ‘green energy for private homes’.

A number of lawyers and environmental campaigners say that permits for the server farms should have been granted by the province, not the local authority, the paper said. In addition, Hollands Kroon has been able to cash in millions of euros in permit fees and other charges.

‘I do not think Hollands Kroon local authority has the power to do this,’ law professor Michiel de Vries told the paper, referring to the permits.

Warning

Documents seen by the Telegraaf show Hollands Kroon had already been warned about going too far in 2018, but that local officials are determined to press ahead.

Although willing to talk to the provincial authorities to settle the question, they deny that environmental regulations have been broken, the paper said.

Last November, the NRC said Hollands Kroon’s plans to build five more data centres along the A7 motorway, is dividing local politicians and MPs and driving out farmers.

Google and Microsoft already have data centres on the site.

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