IDA scouts for new greenfield data centre locations across Ireland

27 Jun 2017

In search of greenfield locations. Image: mikroman6/Shutterstock

To ensure that Ireland remains the data capital of Europe, we need more Apple and Amazon-style data centres.

IDA Ireland has appointed Jacobs Engineering Ireland to identify further strategic sites for the construction of large-scale data centres in various parts of the country.

Ireland is already home to at least 30 global data centres belonging to tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Vodafone, Interxion and Equinix, to name a few.

Future Human

The news that IDA is scouting new places to locate these buildings comes as Apple’s plans to build an €850m data centre in Athenry are being delayed, pending the verdict of an upcoming case in the Commercial Court, Dublin.

The verdict, based on a judicial review following planning objections, was due to be read out on Friday (23 June) but was postponed for a week due to a shortage of judges.

It is understood that Jacobs Engineering beat off competition from nine other firms for the contract. It had been estimated to be worth around €200,000, but the company’s winning bid was €53,776.

Jacobs Engineering will now be tasked with identifying sites for large data centres in the south-east, the south-west, the mid-west, the midlands and the north-west.

Can Ireland power more data centres?

IDA is clearly moving to build on Ireland’s free air-cooling climate and alleviate pressure on the electricity grid in Dublin, by creating more regionally based data centre locations.

In recent months, it emerged that Amazon is building a new €1bn data centre dubbed Project G, which will be powered by renewable energy. Construction is due to begin this year and will take 18 months to complete.

Concerns over the Amazon data centre’s energy consumption have sparked fears that the project could run into the same set of problems that have dogged Apple.

Apple announced a sister data centre for Athenry in Denmark two years ago. Now, the Danish facility is almost operational while a sod has yet to be turned in Athenry.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years