Google has started construction work on its second Belgian data center campus, located in Farciennes, in the province of Hainaut.

The company reportedly aims to invest $1 billion in the project. Google will also be expanding its existing Belgian campus in Saint-Ghislain.

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Google's existing Belgian campus at Saint-Ghislain – Google

Local press first reported that Google was considering a data center in Farciennes near Charleroi back in 2019. Google acquired 53 hectares of land in the Ecopôle eco-business park in Farciennes later that year.

Official plans for the camps were first announced in July 2023. The three-building campus will span some 53,000 sqm (570,500 sq ft). According to previous reports, energy firm Elia has confirmed that 200-300MW of capacity would be available on the site.

Previous reports suggested work on the first phase – spanning around 7,500 sqm (80,730 sq ft) – would begin last year and launch in 2025.

The company was granted a permit for the Farciennes project earlier this year.

Conditions attached to Google’s planning permit will require on-site solar panels, which the company has said will mounted to the roof. Additionally, 90 percent of the energy consumed on the site must be carbon-free by 2025 and this must even be 95 percent by 2030.

Google will also have to opt for a more sustainable cooling system for the data centers in the future – reportedly switching from systems that use water-consuming technology to air-cooling. The site will also be connected to a local district heating network.

The company uses the shell company Crystal Computing for much of its dealings in Belgium.

The existing Saint-Ghislain site was Google’s first data center in Europe. The company has built five data centers at its 90-hectare Saint-Ghislain site since 2009. The company has also built a solar plant on the campus.

Google has said the expansion at Saint-Ghislain will include an additional 1.4MW of capacity at the company’s on-site solar farm.

2022 also saw Google acquire a 36-hectare site located in Ecaussinnes, in Hainaut province, in the Feluy industrial zone near La Louvière.