Monday, October 23, 2017

Denmark’s left calls for temporary BAN on new data centres over ‘disastrous’ renewable energy policy

Parliamentary parties accuse government of hesitating in its own green energy policy, less than three months after Facebook announced its first Danish data centre.

A new report by Denmark’s Energy Regulatory Authority has caused much stir amongst the nation’s political class with calls made to parliament for a temporary ban on new data centre developments.

The controversial report predicts that Denmark will fail to reach its goal of powering the country’s energy needs through non-pollutant sources by 2030 if current policies continue to be followed.

This has led opposition party SF (Socialistik Folkeparti; Socialist People’s Party) and green political party Alternativet (The Alternative) to label the current situation a disaster and call for a moratorium on new data centres until national renewable energy plans match the country’s energy consumption.

Christian Poll, Alternativet’s spokesman for environment, climate, energy, agriculture, animal welfare, fishing, food and transport, said: “It will be a disaster for the climate and Denmark’s reputation if CO2 emissions rise by 2030, as the baseline projection anticipates.

“We already have a large task to ensure a green transition. A task the government has just made more complicated by eliminating the public service obligation (PSO) [tariff over power bills] and by opening the country to data centres.”

The SF party together with the Danish Unity party – which has no parliamentary representation -, both accused the government of hesitating around climate policy.

SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr said: “It is obvious that the plan to adopt renewable energy not only runs the risk of stalling, but also going backwards if we do not make agreements on new investments in the energy sector.”

However, despite the calls for action, it is unlikely that the SF, Alternativet and Unity’s plans to block data centre buildouts will take any effect as the three parties together only account to 16 of the 179 members of the Danish parliament.

In the last few months, Denmark has made headlines for its growing data centre ecosystem.

In January this year, Facebook unveiled plans to invest $100m in the construction of a data centre in the City of Odense.

The data centre has been projected to measure 607,084 sqf and will be built in a piece of land measuring more than 5.3 million sqf.

In October 2016, Apple announced an investment plan worth nearly $1bn in which it will invest $950m in the development of a large data centre campus in Foulum.

The first hub will have 166,000 sqm of data centre flooring and will be powered by 100% renewable energy. At the same time, Apple announced it would be investing $3m to be used on biogas research at University of Aarhus.

According to research firm BroadGroup, Denmark has 46 data centres, the second largest portfolio in the Nordics behind Sweden which tops 171 facilities.