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Data Centres

Appeal lodged against two new data centres in Clondalkin, despite local ban

The project was initially approved by South Dublin County Council in early August.

A PLANNING APPEAL has been lodged to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) over two proposed data centres in Clondalkin, Co Dublin, which was approved by the local council last month.

The plan would see two data centres constructed in Profile Park in Clondalkin, a 125-acre business park which already houses data centres and is described as “Ireland’s data centre cluster”.

While South Dublin County Council (SDCC) approved the project in early August, appeals have since been lodged with ABP calling for the project to be scrapped.

Permission for the project was sought by Digital Netherlands VIII B. V., who are seeking a ten year permission to develop the site.

This would include removing an unused wastewater treatment system and constructing two two-storey data centres. In addition, the company proposed building a gas powered generator on the site to provide electricity to the two data centres.

The site itself, Profile Park, is a large business park where multiple data centres are located, with Independent Councillor Peter Kavanagh saying that the site was known informally as Ireland’s “data centre belt”.

According to Kavanagh, large multinationals like Google and Microsoft have data centres nearby, with the area well suited for their development due to the large open space and access to infrastructure.

Despite opposition from local councillors, including Kavanagh, SDCC approved the project on 2 August.

The appeal, which was launched by a Louth-based environmental group, says that the proposed development should not go ahead due to the “disproportionate” number of data centres already located in South Dublin.

It also says that the high level of water usage in cooling data centres would “divert a valuable resource away from the local community, a situation which is likely to get worse as water scarcity becomes more of a problem and population increases”.

In recent months, there has been additional scrutiny placed on new data centre developments, due to the high levels of electricity usage associated with the sites.

This is while Ireland continues to face issues with electricity generation, with Environment Minister Eamon Ryan telling reporters yesterday that the Government will do “everything we can” to avoid blackouts this winter.

EirGrid, who operate the Irish electricity grid, told an Oireachtas Committee that there was a “heightened risk” to Ireland’s electricity supply due to European energy supplies being “tight”.

The Government has also changed its stance on data centres, saying that there is only a “limited capacity” for new data centre developments.

It comes as a High Court challenge has been brought against a decision by South Dublin County Council to ban any further data centre developments during the lifetime of its 2022 to 2028 development plan.

The judicial review action has been brought by Echelon DC Holdings Limited, which develops and owns data centres.

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