Paperwork decision scraps Google's $600m Minnesota datacenter project

We don't have the power

It turns out Meta isn’t the only one cancelling datacenters this month. Google has reportedly walked away from a $600 million bitbarn project under development in Becker, Minnesota.

"We are proud to be part of the Minnesota community and remain committed to growing the industry and jobs in the state," a Google spokesperson told The Register. "While this project isn't progressing right now, that doesn't rule out engagement on projects in the future."

The facility, first announced in 2019, was effectively ended after Google partner Honeycrisp Power failed to file the necessary paperwork for Xcel Energy to provide the power for the project, the Star Tribune reported this week. In response, the Minnesota-based utility terminated its electric service agreements with Google earlier this month.

The Tribune reports that, when complete, the facility would have rested on approximately 300 acres of land, employed 50 permanent workers, and had a price tag of $600 million. But without electricity the data won't flow. In a statement, Google told the Tribune that “while this project isn’t progressing right now, that doesn’t rule out engagement on projects in the future.”

Google’s decision to pull out of the datacenter project may be in response to the economic headwinds now threatening the internet empire’s profit margins. In Q3, Alphabet — Google’s parent company — saw its profits slip $6 billion dollars to $13.9 billion, well below analyst estimates, although still making over $154 million a day in profit.

In the wake of the weaker than usual quarter, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai committed to reevaluating all of the company’s ongoing projects.

“We are reviewing projects at all scales pretty granularly to make sure we have the right plans there, and based on that, the right resourcing and making course corrections,” he said at the time. “It is something we’ll continue doing going into 2023.”

Google isn’t the only hyperscaler cutting fat. Earlier this month, Meta terminated two of three datacenters under construction in the Odense region of Denmark and put a $1.5 billion project in Huntsville, Alabama, on indefinite hold as part of a redesign.

The decision came after Meta laid off 13 percent of its global workforce and announced plans to invest heavily in artificial intelligence to extract more value from its core advertising business and advance its vision for the Metaverse. ®

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