Site reclassification

Google data centre: Meco appeals decision

The reclassification of the 35-hectare site, wanted by Google for a data centre zone, is still under debate Photo: Maison Moderne

The reclassification of the 35-hectare site, wanted by Google for a data centre zone, is still under debate Photo: Maison Moderne

The Mouvement Ecologique (“Ecological Movement” or “Meco”) will continue to fight Google’s foreseen data centre in Bissen by appealing the administrative court’s latest decision.

In order to build Google’s future data centre in Bissen, the municipality, the interior ministry and the environment ministry reclassified 35 hectares as a “special data centre zone”. The move was contested two years ago by the Mouvement Ecologique, which filed an appeal with the administrative court on 11 July 2019. The appeal was rejected on 1 July 2021.

Meco has not given up, however. Its board of directors, which met on 12 July, has decided to appeal the decision.

Water management as a major issue

“The ministry says that the site is suitable because it provides an energy supply, but it does not take into account water management,” explains Blanche WeberBlanche Weber, president of Meco. “The administrative court says that this analysis can be done later (in the framework of the environmental impact assessment). But in our opinion, if the site is reclassified, there will be no turning back.” A Meco press release stated: “It cannot and must not be a question of first laying the groundwork for the establishment of a company, a production process or anything else, and then trying to make this establishment as environmentally friendly as possible within the framework of the faits accomplis thus created.”

As a reminder, Meco had requested access to the memorandum of understanding signed between Luxembourg and the American tech giant as part of another legal procedure. The request was refused by the administrative court on appeal.

Meco is particularly concerned about the proposed data centre’s water consumption, which it estimates to equal 5–10% of the annual consumption of drinking water in Luxembourg. “This is a significant amount of water, the availability of which cannot be guaranteed during hot periods, given the depletion of groundwater reserves. Moreover, it does not seem possible a priori to discharge the cooling water into surface water under ecologically acceptable conditions at this location.”

This article was originally published on paperjam.lu. It has been translated and edited for Delano.