23th June came the Land and Environment Court's ruling on whether Google should be allowed to build data centers in Horndal or not. The answer: yes.
Google's plans to build a data center with five server halls and associated office areas in Horndal (Avesta municipality), have been quite some time in the making. The Dalarna County Administrative Board was concerned that construction would have a strong impact on nearby lakes, that protected species are threatened, and last but not least that there would be a risk of noise and emissions. Furthermore the Swedish Farmers' Association warned that the planned water pipeline, which is estimated to be 17 kilometers long and 20 meters wide, will destroy a lot of farmland.
The verdict states that the Land and Environment Court gives DSC International permission for “construction and operation of a data center with a reserve power plant, including several incineration plants with a total (total) installed power output of a maximum of 1,500 MWth on the property Horndalsbyn 12:28 in Avesta municipality ”.
The court also grants permission to "divert water from the Dalälven (in the Bysjön area) to a maximum amount of 0.27 m3 / s and to construct and maintain a pumping station and outlet and discharge lines for this purpose". When water is to be diverted away from Dalälven, however, it must be done in consultation with the farmers affected. The City Fisheries Conservation was disappointed, as the Land and Environment Court rejected its application for compensation of SEK 20,000 per year for fish releases.
The Avesta municipality is happy with the ruling, not least with reference to future jobs. It has previously been revealed that Google estimates that between 350 and 400 employees are needed for data center operations. In addition, the construction itself involves a lot of jobs. According to Avesta Tidning, it could amount to 1.500 jobs.
"We are very happy that the court makes the same assessment as us in this matter, that the land that Google owns in Horndal is a suitable place to establish a data center. We have made an effort to answer the court's questions in detail and to clarify how a possible establishment would go. What we see is that the region has the right combination of reliable energy infrastructure, knowledgeable workforce and proximity to users, which are key factors for a project like this", says Joakim Larsson, who is Google's communications manager in Sweden and Finland.
However, Joakim Larsson again stressed that no decision has yet been made that the IT giant will actually build in Dalarna: "From Google's side, we have not yet made a business decision whether to build data centers on the ground, it depends entirely on what future needs for data capacity in Google's operations in Europe. For some time now, preparatory work has been underway on the land in Horndal to ensure that we have the opportunity to build a data center there, should our business require it.
An appeal of the verdict must have been received no later than 14 July. The judgment also states that operations at the data center must have commenced within ten years from the date on which the permit judgment becomes final.