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Arklow electricity substation to cater for data centre gets the go-ahead

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Rendering of an Echelon data centre in Dublin

Rendering of an Echelon data centre in Dublin

Rendering of an Echelon data centre in Dublin

A multimillion euro electricity substation that will be linked to a new data centre complex in Arklow, Co Wicklow, as well as the massive SSE Renewables Arklow Bank wind farm, has been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála.

The decision to give to Echelon permission for the 110kv substation in Arklow is separate to a proposal submitted in April this year by a unit of SSE Renewables for a €50m 220Kv substation nearby. That 220kv station is a joint initiative between Echelon and SSE Renewables.

Last November, Echelon Data Centres and SSE Renewables announced plans to jointly develop that substation in Co Wicklow in order to link a huge 520MW offshore wind farm to the electricity grid at Arklow.

However, An Bord Pleanála notes that the 110Kv substation for which Echelon has just secured permission will also be linked to offshore wind energy generators.

An Bord Pleanála also noted that the proposed 110Kv substation development is being designed to provide a permanent power supply for three data centre facilities planned by Echelon in the area.

Its DUB20 data centre complex will cost about €500m to develop and will support 450 construction jobs and 90 full-time roles.

It recently received planning permission for its latest Arklow data centre, which will also cost about €500m to develop.

Echelon is owned by Aldgate Developments, which is developing data centres across Europe. Its managing director is Niall Molloy, who is also CEO of Echelon.

When Echelon and SSE Renewables announced last year that they intended to jointly develop a new substation in Arklow, Mr Molloy said the initiative represented a “model for the future”, where data centre facilities are located close to the source of renewable energy, “providing a constant demand for the power”.

“It is of note that the proposed development is also intended to cater for future renewable energy production in the form of offshore wind,” noted the An Bord Pleanála planning inspector in granting permission for the 110kv substation.

“It will facilitate the transmission of offshore wind energy onto the electricity network and will indirectly reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy production,” the inspector added.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

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