Chile partially pulls Google data center permit, seeks tougher environmental checks

  • World
  • Wednesday, 28 Feb 2024

FILE PHOTO: Google logos are seen during the announcement of the plans for their data centre expansion in Santiago, Chile, September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado/File Photo

SANTIAGO (Reuters) -A Chilean environmental court partially reversed a permit allowing Google to build a data center in the country on Tuesday, asking the U.S. company to revise its application to take into account the effects of climate change.

Google first received initial authorization for its announced $200 million Cerrillos Data Center in Santiago in early 2020, but the project has since drawn an outcry from residents and local officials over the possible impact on the capital's parched aquifer.

Chile has been suffering from a drought for over a decade, and data servers require millions of gallons (liters) of water annually for cooling.

The court asked Google "to incorporate the consideration of climate change's effects in the evaluation of the water component (Central Santiago Aquifer), if appropriate, taking into account a possible modification of the cooling system of the servers associated with the project," the ruling stated.

A spokesperson for Google told Reuters the company would "continue to collaborate with the requirements of local authorities," adding that in February 2022 it had submitted a change to the original design so as to have the center air-cooled instead.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Editing by Brendan O'Boyle, Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)

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