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Fingal Council questions Amazon’s data centre plans


Adam Selipsky is chief executive of AWS. Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images

Adam Selipsky is chief executive of AWS. Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images

Adam Selipsky is chief executive of AWS. Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images

Fingal County Council has stated that it is not satisfied Amazon Web Services (AWS) has fully demonstrated that its plan to build three data centres in north Dublin accords with revised Government policy on data centres.

In December, on behalf of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Universal Developers LLC lodged plans with the council for the three new data centre buildings with a combined power load of 73MW for the AWS data centre campus on a 65-acre land-holding at Cruiserath Road, Dublin 15.

In addition to the three proposed, one AWS data centre is already operational at the campus while construction work continues on two others.

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lodged with the scheme stated that permitted development and future indicative development at the data campus will consume 219.7MW in power and produce 607,523 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The new proposal is facing opposition and now seeking further information on the plans. The council has told Universal Developers LLC that it is not satisfied it has fully demonstrated that the proposal accords with the Government’s Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy published in July of last year.

Instead of a ban on new data centres proceeding, the Government statement proposed a set of tighter regulations for new data centre developments as the country works to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade. In its letter, Fingal Council planners have requested Universal to provide information to demonstrate how the proposal would make efficient use of the electricity grid, using available capacity and alleviating constraints.

In its application, Universal Developers told the Council that AWS, whose chief executive is Adam Selipsky, is committing to off-take 100pc of the power from its three wind-farm projects here and “therefore, renewable energy sources will be used to provide electricity to the site”.

The council stated that it notes the applicant’s reference to its three wind farms here and has stated that details should be provided in respect of how much energy already utilised by the applicant’s operations here are being offset by these proposals, and if the quantity of electricity generated would offset the proposed development in addition to current activity.

The council also note AWS’s global commitments to decarbonise and provide net zero data services and has requested the applicant submit information specific to their Irish operations and progress toward those targets. 

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