The timing of the call is striking – just before Zeewolde city council will vote on Thursday night on a zone change that will allow the arrival of Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp). A narrow majority in the local council, which also includes the local VVD parliamentary group, is in favor of the colossus’ arrival in the polder.
Meanwhile, concerns about the consequences of the data center are growing in the House of Representatives. The server halls will consume as much electricity as all Amsterdam households put together. MPs from various parties see that with this major intervention, a small municipality brings with it a huge data center that not only consumes a lot of electricity, but also has other negative consequences. For example, it can be expected that the achievement of national CO2 reduction targets will continue to be forgotten.
The VVD and the CDA were often positive about the arrival of new data centers. For years it has been said that they are good for employment and the business climate. Recent studies show that this is quite disappointing.
Tightening of national orientation
The coalition agreement presented on Wednesday by VVD, D66, CDA and CU already states that “hyperscale data centers place a disproportionate burden on the available sustainable energy in relation to the social and / or economic added value”. “That is why we are tightening the federal management and the admission criteria when issuing permits,” announce the coalition members.
VVD member Erkens puts his words into practice. He finds it regrettable that a decision is now being made locally in anticipation of this national policy. He’s hoping for a “just in place”, he says. Erkens first wants to develop a national policy framework and “give insights into the effects on the new climate and energy policy”. “This data center is very large and uses a lot of energy. Therefore national politicians should check whether and where this can be implemented in the Netherlands. I would prefer to postpone the decision until it is clear whether this is such a good idea, especially given our broader climate and energy policy. “
This call is widely supported, also by the CU. “It’s a shame that good agricultural land is sacrificed for an energy-guzzling data center that does little for the local population,” says MP Pieter Grinwis.
Grinwis: “In the coalition agreement it was agreed that there would be a national vision for this type of data center. The government needs to react quickly to this vision now and I don’t think we will take irreversible steps until then. I think it is understandable that the suggestion by the local CU group to postpone the debate is understandable. “
Henri Bontenbol, Member of the Bundestag, is also critical of the developments at the CDA. He does not want to anticipate decisions in the Zeewolde Council. “But the text of the coalition agreement speaks for itself.”
It is noteworthy that the local GL and PvdA parliamentary groups have spoken out positively about the data center in the last few months, while the national GL and PvdA parliamentary groups have for some time been strongly opposed to the entry of new, large data halls. On Thursday, deputy Suzanne Kröger (GL) announced that GL wanted the plan to be “put on hold” at the national and local levels. “First clear national and provincial framework conditions, how much capacity and under what conditions.”
The PvdA MP Joris Thijssen has contacted the local parliamentary group and expressed his concerns, he says. He hopes that the plug will finally be pulled out of the project. Thijssen thinks it is “nice” that the VVD is now also calling for a postponement, he says. He wants butter with the fish. “The VVD is a member of the Zeewolde Council. Then let them take care of this delay. Especially with this coalition agreement in hand. “