Google has confirmed it is behind a data center development project in Ridgeville, South Carolina

The search and cloud company has also received permission to develop three more data centers in Belgium.

Google confirmed to expand in South Carolina

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The land Google is developing in Dorchester County, South Carolina – Google Maps

Google has revealed itself to be behind the Project Dawson data center proposals in South Carolina.

“The Dorchester County Economic Development (DCED) office, which serves to support economic growth in the county, confirms a relationship with Google who recently closed on property in the county,” the DCED said this week.

“We are thrilled to welcome Google to Dorchester County and know they will be a long-term partner for our community, especially our schools,” said Dorchester County Council Chairman Todd Friddle. “Google has a history of strengthening local workforces and uplifting communities, and we look forward to Google making a positive difference here in Dorchester County.”

Campus specifications or project timelines haven't been shared.

According to the Post and Courier, the company aims to invest $510 million in the new campus – a 231-acre site along Research Center Drive and Highway 17A in Dorchester County’s Pine Hill Business Campus. The Dorchester County Council voted to change the site’s zoning earlier this month.

Google – previously reported as the company likely involved – has previously been conducting business around the project behind the Autumn Timber LLC and Mallard LLC company names. The search company had been referring to the site as Project Dawson.

“We have been proud to call South Carolina home for over fifteen years since we first put down roots in Berkeley County,” Google said in a statement. “Since then, we have partnered closely with local leadership, schools, and nonprofits to lift up the great work happening here. As we look to expand in the state, we have acquired property in Dorchester County for the development of a new data center campus. We look forward to growing our community here in South Carolina and will share details as this long-term project progresses.”

Google currently operates a South Carolina data center campus in Moncks Corner, around 20 miles east of Ridgeville. The company recently acquired another 140 acres in the area.

The Post and Courier also reports that Google, going by the aliases Project Evergreen and Gannett Enterprises LLC, has also is purchasing 206 acres for a proposed third data center near the county's Winding Woods Commerce Park along Pecan Tree Road and Highway 78, outside the town of St. George. The company was granted a $5.55 million purchase option for the land this month.

However, the company reportedly aims to focus on the Pine Hill campus for now, and will expand to the Winding Woods site as demand requires.

Google expands in Belgium

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Google's existing Belgian St. Ghislain campus – Google

In Belgium, Google has been granted permission for a new data center campus.

The Walloon Region has issued an urban planning permit to the company for the construction of a new data center campus in the Hainaut municipality of Farciennes. The company is reportedly investing €600 million ($646m) in the project.

“The Walloon Region has just granted the permit for the installation of Google in Farcienne,” said Hugues Bayet, mayor of the municipality of Farciennes. “A new step in the realization of the digital giant's welcome in our region and above all the net creation of many jobs!”

Plans for the camps were first announced in July 2023. The campus will span some 53,000 sqm (570,500 sq ft). Previous reports suggested work would begin on the first phase – spanning around 7,500 sqm (80,730 sq ft) – would begin last year and launch in 2025.

More recent press suggests groundbreaking for the first 80MW phase is due to happen later this year.

Google acquired 53 hectares of land in the Ecopôle eco-business park, located across the municipalities of Farciennes, Aiseau-Presles, and Sambreville, in 2019. According to previous reports, energy firm Elia has confirmed that 200-300MW of capacity would be available on the site.

Belgium’s Saint Ghislain was the site of Google’s first data center in Europe. The company has built five data centers at its 90-hectare Saint-Ghislain site since 2009 as well as a solar plant. The company uses the shell company Crystal Computing for much of its dealings in Belgium.

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

According to Raphael Stokis, a delegated official of the Walloon Region, the conditions attached to the permit will require on-site solar panels. 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 future – reportedly switching from systems that use water-consuming technology to air-cooling.

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