Google gets planning permission for new facility in Sweden

Google has gained outline planning consent to build a data centre in Horndal, Sweden, subject to sustainability stipulations.

In 2017, Google purchased the 109 hectares site in Horndal, 160km north of Stockholm, as a land-bank for future data centre use. Now that Sweden’s Land and Environment Court has granted permission to Google’s subsidiary, DSC International, for a data centre to be built, a major hurdle for development is clear.

The court’s decision comes with strict environmental requirements. DSC will have to replace diesel with a fossil-free alternative for backup generators by 2030. It will also have to build a system, at its own expense, to enable waste heat from the campus to be recycled into municipal heating systems free-of-charge. In addition, the ruling requires DSC to produce an energy management plan and annual environment report to track its progress toward these outcomes.

Google plans to cool the data centre with water transported through a pipeline from sources up to 20km away. This has led to some criticism from farmers who do not want the pipes crossing their land and potentially impacting their crops.

The details of the site layout were not in the court documents, but it is believed to comprise a five data hall campus. Google has not disclosed when construction will begin but the planning consent stipulates that it must be within a ten year period.

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