Amazon receives planning permission for two new data centers in north Dublin

Amazon has secured planning permission for two new data centers in north Dublin.

This comes despite objections from environmental groups, who have expressed concerns that doing so would further strain limited energy supplies and have a negative impact on the environment

Dublin City Council has approved a permit application submitted by Amazon through Colliers Properties to build two new data centers on a 3.75 hectare site at Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park.

A division of the US multinational Amazon Web Services already has a data center at the same location.

The new data centers will be housed in two new two-storey buildings with a gross floor area of ​​12,875 m² and 1,445 m² respectively on a site of the former Ricoh building which is scheduled for demolition.

The larger building will have two additional mezzanines.

A dozen backup generators will also be located in adjacent buildings.

Amazon has estimated that between 15 and 58 people will work in the data centers over a 24-hour period, while up to 400 people will be employed during the construction phase of the project.

The development comes at a time when data center energy consumption has come back into focus due to concerns about capacity issues with utilities.

Official figures show that data centers accounted for 14 percent of all electricity needs in the republic last year, with Eirgrid estimating they could account for 29 percent by 2028.

Members of South Dublin County Council are currently at odds with the planning authority after imposing an effective ban on all future new data center developments in their jurisdiction.

Earlier this year, Eirgrid said it would not deploy new grid connections to data centers in the Dublin area until 2028 due to capacity constraints.

However, the utility regulatory commission ruled out a moratorium on new data centers but said the location of future facilities and their ability to generate their own electricity would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

In their application, Amazon advisors said the company is committed to building a sustainable business “for our customers and the planet.”

They pointed out that part of Amazon’s commitment to be carbon neutral across its business by 2040 is to run on 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Amazon told city planners that its new 115-megawatt wind farm project in Galway, which came online this year, would support the company’s data centers in the Republic and complement its existing wind farm projects in Cork and Donegal.

According to Amazon, the three wind farm projects are expected to deliver 229 MW of renewable energy capacity per year and reduce emissions by 366,000 tons of CO2 per year – the equivalent of powering 185,000 homes for a year

According to Amazon, by using an innovative cooling solution, the two new data centers would only use 264 m³ of water per year for cooling.

Amazon said its operations in Ireland will retain 8,700 jobs, including 3,100 direct employees and a further 3,900 working for contractors.

The company claims to have increased economic output in Ireland by almost €7.5 billion over the past decade and invested €4.4 billion directly over the same period.

In terms of data centres, Amazon said it has increased its spending with Irish contractors 14-fold since 2015 to €228 million.

Amazon said its investment in data centers in the city of Dublin supported over 2,300 jobs in 2020 and benefited from €80 million in capital expenditures.

Environmental group Not Here Not Now, which has opposed the development of the new data centers, said the proposed use of diesel backup generators would mean that fossil fuels would occasionally be used to run them.

The group, which is campaigning to end fossil fuel exploration, said it is crucial that data centers are powered directly by onsite renewable energy generation like rooftop solar farms or new offsite generation like offshore wind farms.

“Failing to run the plant entirely on renewable energy will result in an increase in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in breach of the Climate Change Act, Climate Action Plan and National Planning Framework,” said group spokesperson Angela Deegan.

Not Here Not Now also claimed it is crucial that Dublin City Council considers the cumulative impact of the energy needs of all Amazon’s data centers in Ireland on a country-wide basis.

Another environmental group, Gluaiseacht, claimed the lack of information on the power ratings of the proposed new data centers makes it “unclear just how big an energy-guzzling monster is being added to the national grid”.

In its decision, Dublin City Council said the proposed data centers were compatible with the zoning of the site, noting that there were several other data centers within the business park, including an existing permit for one on the same site.

While the new data centers would have some net impact on the area, the city planners decided that they would not have a significant adverse impact, either alone or in combination with existing data centers.

One of the conditions for the issuance of the building permit is that Amazon pays a development contribution of almost 1.3 million euros to the municipality. Amazon receives planning permission for two new data centers in north Dublin

Fry Electronics Team

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