Paperwork decision shuts down Google’s $600 million Minnesota data center • The Register

It turns out that Meta isn’t the only one retiring from data centers this month. Google has reportedly walked away from a $600 million Bitbarn project being developed in Becker, Minnesota.

“We are proud to be part of the Minnesota community and remain committed to growing industry and jobs in the state,” said a Google spokesman The registry. “Although this project is currently not progressing, this does not preclude a commitment to future projects.”

The facility, first announced in 2019, was effectively ended after Google partner Honeycrisp Power failed to submit the required paperwork for Xcel Energy to provide power for the project, The Local Star Tribute reported this week. In response, the Minnesota-based utility terminated its electricity service contracts with Google earlier this month.

The Tribune reports that when completed, the facility would have stood on approximately 300 acres, employed 50 permanent workers, and was priced at $600 million. But without electricity, the data does not flow.

The registry asked Google for comment on the status of its data center project, but had not received a response at the time of publication. However, in a statement, Google told the Tribune that “while this project is not currently moving forward, this does not preclude involvement in projects in the future.”

Google’s decision to pull out of the data center project could be a response to economic headwinds now threatening the internet empire’s profit margins. In the third quarter, Alphabet — Google’s parent company — saw profits fall from $6 billion to $13.9 billion, well below analysts’ estimates, though it still makes over $154 million in profit per day.

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

“We review projects of all sizes in quite some detail to make sure we have the right plans there, and make the right resource allocations and course corrections based on that,” he said at the time. “We will continue to do this until 2023.”

Google isn’t the only hyperscaler cutting fat. Earlier this month, Meta finished two of three data centers under construction in Denmark’s Odense region and indefinitely suspended a $1.5 billion project in Huntsville, Alabama, 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 derive more value from its core advertising business and advance its vision for the Metaverse. ® Paperwork decision shuts down Google’s $600 million Minnesota data center • The Register

Rick Schindler

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