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Energy Crisis

Big Tech Gets Caught Up in Europe’s Energy Politics

As the war in Ukraine threatens supplies, some countries are pushing for tighter control over data centers that consume vast amounts of electricity.

An artist impression of how the Meta hyperscale data center might look in Zeewolde, Netherlands.

An artist impression of how the Meta hyperscale data center might look in Zeewolde, Netherlands.

Source: Gemeente Zeewolde

When Google wanted to build a new $1.1 billion data center in the Luxembourg countryside, the government championed the investment and helped the company to acquire the land. Authorities in the Netherlands granted Meta Platforms Inc. permission for what promised to be an even bigger one, part of the country’s ambition to become Europe’s “digital hub.”

With a squeeze on energy supplies because of Russia’s war on Ukraine, the political metrics are now changing for the giant facilities. The two projects were paused after grassroots resistance from locals and environmental activists. But when the focus is on ensuring the lights stay on this winter, data computing and storage that can guzzle a small town’s worth of power are no longer as in vogue for some European governments.