While Google is planning a sixth data centre in Belgium, the Luxembourg site in Bissen is still idle (Library photo: Nader Ghavami)

While Google is planning a sixth data centre in Belgium, the Luxembourg site in Bissen is still idle (Library photo: Nader Ghavami)

Google is reportedly preparing to build a sixth data centre in Belgium after acquiring 53 hectares of land on the banks of the Sambre, while the company has been mum on the future of a site in Luxembourg.

Belgian newspaper L’Echo reports that Google is eyeing the Ecopôle site in Farciennes, a municipality on the banks of the Sambre river a few kilometres from Charleroi, for a sixth data centre in the country. The site is located near a source of water that can cool the data centre installations and has an electrical transformer station with a capacity of 200 to 300MW available.

L’Echo says the internet giant has already acquired 53 hectares of land there.  Google's fifth data centre is still under construction on its Sain-Ghislain site, where 350 people work and the number of indirect jobs is estimated at 1,000.

With this new project, estimated to cost €600m, the American company will have invested between €2-2.8bn since 2009 in Belgium for the acquisition and construction of six data centres and a solar power plant.

No news for Bissen

Almost a year ago, the Bissen municipal council the construction of a Google data centre in the Luxembourg commune, but the company has been silent on its plans. “Nothing has changed. The PAP has been approved. Since then, there has been no news from Google,” said David Viaggi, mayor of Bissen.

The PAP is a development plan that needs to be adopted for construction projects to receive planning permission.

Administrative procedures are still ongoing. Results of an environmental impact assessment are yet to emerge and a commodo/incommodo procedure had to be launched, which aims to preserve the safety of workers but also the environment and neighbourhood. 

The project for a Google data centre in Luxembourg launched in 2017. In November 2019, Fabien Vieau, head of development for Google's data centres in Europe, said the site in Bissen would open at the earliest in 2023 in a best case scenario.

This story was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.