You may have read the interesting and insightful article in The Sunday Times a few weeks ago where Sean Pollock wrote about data centres opening with ‘Digital storage centres are powering up rural Ireland, but the network is feeling the pressure.’ With Dublin being the largest hosting cluster in Europe, the boom in the sector seems to be growing and growing – something that is welcomed by the construction industry. In terms of what to expect in the future here are some up to date findings on data centre development in Ireland.
Echelon, a data centre developer announced they were given permission to build a €500 million data centre at the Avoca River Business Park according to reports in the Irish Times. The 100MW centre had been granted planning permission by Wicklow County Council some months ago but it was appealed however; An Bord Pleanála have dismissed the appeal making way for the data centre development. This development is creating 90 full time roles and supporting 450 jobs in construction according to the Irish Times. Echelon has another data centre, based in Clondalkin showing their interest and dedication to investing in Ireland.
Floating data centre
Another high profile and somewhat controversial data centre development is the floating data centre in Shannon Foynes Port. The Limerick Port Users Group are opposing the combining development of the 4,836 sq. m. site on the dock. The floating data centre would cover 2,075 sq. m. with it being across two levels and an industrial building and compound enclosure are part of the proposed plans. The data centre project is to be developed by US data centre firm Nautilus and it would create 24 permanent jobs according to Fora.ie.
Apple and objections
We can’t forget that objections can ruin a development and one of the most high profile objections that led to the cancelling of their data centre plans was the one in Athenry which was being developed by Apple. The excessive time delays in planning forced Apple to abandon their plans for the infamous €850 million data centre in Athenry, Galway. Even with local support the objections caused such a delay that Athenry lost out on a huge opportunity that would have improved their town.
Carbon emissions and future prospects
With data centres certain to build up in momentum in the future months it has been advised by Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE) that they could add 1.5 million tonnes to our carbon emissions by 2030. Concerns have been raised on Ireland’s ability to deliver renewable infrastructure that can provide the power needed for the data centres but with the job creation that these data centres bring it would be hugely beneficial to Ireland to drive the sector as long as Ireland can deliver green energy.
Educating ourselves on the need for data centres is a key issue many developments face as those who object may not understand the importance of data centres. Data centre facilities allow for IT equipment and organisation as well as storage of vital data. Anyone who uses a smart watch or a phone etc is using a data centre facility service without being fully aware of it. There are approximately 46 data centres in Ireland at present and with a lot of investment planned there will be many more in the coming years.