Amazon gets go-ahead to build two more data centres in Dublin

15 Aug 2022

Image: © Alexey Novikov/

The proposed site faced objections by environmental groups, while there continues to be concerns about the strain data centres can put on the energy grid.

Tech giant Amazon has secured permission to build two new data centres in Dublin, despite objections from environmental groups.

The two centres are being developed on a 3.75-hectare site in Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park in north Dublin. Amazon has been granted planning permission by Dublin City Council for the development, which will involve demolishing the existing former Ricoh building on the site.

The data centres will each be in two-storey buildings with a gross floor area of 12,875 sq m and 1,445 sq m, respectively. The larger building will have solar panels at roof level and the proposal includes ancillary structures such as a sprinkler tank, pump house and security building.

It is estimated in the plans that there will be between 15 and 58 staff at the data centres when completed, while up to 400 staff will be involved in the construction.

There had been objections to the proposal by environmental groups Gluaiseacht and Not Here Not Anywhere. The latter group said the proposed use of diesel emergency generators would result in fossil fuels being used on the sites, and suggested that if the centres cannot be fully powered by renewable energy it will lead to an increase in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The tech giant already has an Amazon Web Services data centre at the Clonshaugh location and received approval last year to build two other data centres in the technology park, DatacenterDynamics reported.

Energy grid concerns

In response to Amazon’s application, concerns were also raised regarding an overconcentration of data centres in the Dublin area impacting the electricity grid.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show the percentage of Ireland’s electricity used by data centres rose to 14pc last year. This was more than the electricity consumed by Ireland’s rural residential dwellings, which stood at 12pc.

Last year, EirGrid predicted that data centres could account for a quarter of the country’s electricity usage by 2030 as the country attracts more data centre developments.

In January, the State-owned grid operator said it would not connect new data centres in Dublin for the foreseeable future due to constraint concerns, and added that data centre applications would only be considered for other parts of the country on a case-by-case basis.

South Dublin County Council recently voted to ban any further data centre developments, claiming there is a lack of capacity in the region. This decision is currently being challenged in a High Court case by Irish-owned Echelon, which received €855m in funding earlier this year to complete four data centres in Ireland.

Last month, the Government confirmed that new data centre developments will not be banned in Ireland.

However, it published guidelines for new developments as the country works to halve its emissions by the end of the decade. These include a preference for data centres that can demonstrate “a clear pathway to decarbonise and ultimately provide net-zero data services”, can make efficient use of the energy grid and demonstrate the “additionality of their renewable energy use in Ireland”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic