The point is that a certain amount of electricity is generated in a certain country. In our country, this is a mix of electricity from fossil sources and electricity from renewable sources. We currently generate a bizarre small part of our electricity in the Netherlands from renewable sources, while we have made an agreement to increase this share.
To do this, wind farms and solar panels are installed throughout the country, often with government subsidies. This money is intended to increase the share of green electricity for Dutch homes and businesses.
So the moment a subsidy is issued by the (local) government to build a wind farm, that sounds like good news; We can generate x number of mWhs with that money. But then some municipality runs off with it; Hey, we have x number of mWh’s ‘left over’, which we can sell to a company that benefits from a label ‘we use green electricity’. So there will be a building in the Netherlands that would not have been realized if they had not been promised that green electricity. In fact, the subsidy that has been granted has gone to a Swedish company that now supplies its power to an American company. No Dutch household has benefited even slightly from this, but has contributed to it.
Yes, I know that the power from the wind turbines does not literally go to that data center, and yes, we also buy power from other countries and we also export a lot of things. That way you can no longer say that something or someone uses only green electricity. But the fact is that in a country there is a certain yield and a certain consumption. And the moment you immediately sell the consumption to a foreign party with the extra proceeds you receive, you have not made any progress on the net.
I get my info from the episode of Zondag met Lubach by the way; item that is exactly about this data center