AN OPPONENT OF Apple’s stalled plans for a €850 million data centre in Co Galway has failed in preventing online giant Amazon securing planning permission for the first phase of its planned €1 billion data centre in north Dublin.
This follows An Bord Pleanala dismissing the appeal lodged by Athenry based engineer, Allan Daly and giving Amazon’s Irish firm, Amazon Data Services Ireland Limited (ADSIL) the green light for the data centre.
Amazon currently employs 2,500 here and the company’s web services division already has a number of data centres in Dublin, but its Mulhuddart plan- dubbed ‘Project G’ – is its most ambitious to date in Ireland.
ADSIL plans to initially build a 223,000 sq ft data centre in Mulhuddart and has told Fingal County Council it might build seven more data centres on the 26-hectare IDA-owned site.
Recommending that planning be granted, Senior Planning Inspector with the appeals board, John Desmond said in the course of his 120 page report that the provision of such major digital infrastructure, comprising a major data centre, “must surely be viewed positively”.
In support of the plan, the IDA told the appeals board that it views data centre facilities and infrastructure as crucial to Ireland’s ongoing competitiveness as a global location.
The board held a two-day oral hearing into the appeal in September and in his appeal, Daly stated that ADSIL has failed to provide data in terms of how much power from the grid the new data centre will require.
The intervention by Daly and Dublin based architect, David Hughes in lodging the appeals in April of last year against the decision by Fingal Co Council giving the plan permission has delayed the project by nine months.
At the oral hearing, ADSIL withdrew plans for a proposed 220kV substation and clarified that the grid connection did not form part of the application.
Now, the appeals board has given the plan the data centre the go-ahead after finding that it would be consistent with European and government policy concerning the development of digital infrastructure.
It was also found to accord with the policies and objectives pertaining to such developments and would not seriously injure the amenities of the area of property in the vicinity.
Planning consultant for ADSIL, John Spain told the board that when fully utilised, the development will require in the order of 35MW of electricity.
He says: “Based on 2016 demand levels, this represents approximately 0.5% of the Single Energy Market (SEM) demand on the island of Ireland.”
Spain stated that 400 people will be employed during the 12 to 18 month construction period of the data centre. In addition, there will be 32 employed at the site when it becomes operational.
Spain said that the data centre “will support and create significantly more direct and indirect roles”.