Amazon plans to build three more data centres in Dublin

26 Jan 2023

Image: © Connect world/

Amazon received permission to build two data centres by Dublin City Council last year, despite objections from environmental groups.

Tech giant Amazon has submitted plans for three new data centres in North Dublin, continuing its Irish growth in this sector.

The proposed location is at Cruiserath Road in Dublin 15, near other data centre sites that have been previously approved. The application has been submitted to Fingal County Council.

The site will consist of one smaller building with a gross floor area of 1,425 sq m, while the other two will be much larger with a floor area of 20,582 sq m each.

The two larger buildings will have a primary parapet height of nearly 20 metres and will contain data halls, electrical and mechanical plant rooms, a loading bay, storage space, office administration areas and solar panels on the roof.

An environmental impact assessment (EIS) claims Amazon Web Services has directly invested €4.4bn in Ireland between 2011 and 2020.

In the energy statement provided, it is noted that the three data centres will be powered by the Cruiserath 220kV GIS Substation located on the proposed development site. In the event of loss of utility supply, renewable diesel-powered backup generators will be used.

According to the energy statement, “The proposed development benefits from a connection agreement with EirGrid entered into prior to the effective date of the CRU direction.” This refers to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) direction 21/124 which sets out more robust criteria for system operators regarding the assessment of data centre connection applications, which the CRU published because it argues that “data centres pose a particular challenge to the delivery and maintenance of a sustainable and secure power system”.

A number of sustainability measure were mentioned in the EIS, such as water cooling systems and achieving a high building energy rating.

Third parties have until 30 January to make submissions or observations on the project proposal. Last August, the tech giant got permission to build two data centres from Dublin City Council, despite objections from environmental groups.

More pressure for the grid

Concerns have been raised in recent years about the growing surge of data centres in Ireland and the strain they can cause on the grid.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office last year showed the percentage of Ireland’s electricity used by data centres rose to 14pc in 2021. This was more than the electricity consumed by Ireland’s rural residential dwellings, which stood at 12pc.

In 2021, 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.

Last year, South Dublin County Council voted to ban any further data centre developments, with claims 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 last year to complete four data centres in Ireland.

Last July, the Government confirmed that new data centre developments will not be banned in Ireland. However, it published guidelines for new developments, which included 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”.

Updated, 3.55pm, 26 January 2023: This article has been updated to correctly explain how the proposed data centres will be powered.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic