Tech told pay for wind farms

Apple, Facebook, and Google are facing calls to help pay for wind farms needed to power their planned data centres in Denmark.

The companies have chosen the Nordic country partly because of its abundant supply of green electricity. 

A new report suggests the data centres will consume so much power that local authorities may have to resort to more fossil fuels to cover demand.

The Red Green Alliance, a left-wing opposition party with 14 seats in parliament, wants a ban on new data centres until a law is in place that can ensure no business “mooches” on Denmark’s efforts to achieve carbon-neutrality, according to a statement published by the party.

The Alliance may end up providing parliamentary support to a new left-wing coalition government after elections due by June 17.

The data centres are expected to consume about 7 terawatt-hours annually, the equivalent of 17% of Denmark’s electricity consumption in 2030, according to a report published earlier this week by the Danish Council on Climate Change.

Even when considering energy taxes and fees paid by the data centres, they will still cost Denmark some 400 million kroner (€54m) a year because of the costs involved in expanding offshore wind capacity.

The three US technology giants have all said they want their data centres to run on green energy and have also published plans for wind parks. But the council said those plans still lack detail and a firm commitment. 

It’s also not clear if the new parks would draw on state subsidies.

“Large global companies shouldn’t mooch on the green transition and even burden Danish power consumers with the bill,” said Soren Egge Rasmussen, the Red Green Alliance’s energy spokesman.

Apple is building a €887m data centre in Denmark’s western city of Viborg, which will be one of the world’s biggest, once completed.

Facebook has plans for a data centre near the central city of Odense, while Google has bought land for a site in nearby Fredericia.

All three companies have bought or reserved land elsewhere for additional data centres, although Facebook said last month it would drop plans for a second one for the time being.

In Ireland, Apple cancelled plans for a data centre in Athenry following objections and long delays in the planning system.

Bloomberg. Additional reporting Irish Examiner

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