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Microsoft given the green light for four Dublin data centres in €900m project


Microsoft's current data centre Grange Castle

Microsoft's current data centre Grange Castle

Microsoft's current data centre Grange Castle

Microsoft has been given the go-ahead to construct four huge data centres in Dublin that are likely to involve an investment of as much as €900m.

Almost 1,800 construction jobs will be supported by the three-year project, according to Microsoft. The data centres will also result in the creation of 140 full-time jobs.

The local council has just approved the project, which will be built at Grange Castle in Clondalkin.

Microsoft and other firms including Google already have data centres at the location.

The Microsoft scheme firmly places Ireland among the leading global data centre locations, and cements a massive capital expenditure by the software giant on its facilities in Ireland over the past few years.

The company, co-founded by Bill Gates, is currently building a new €134m campus in Dublin for 1,200 staff. It has also spent over €800m on its existing data centre operations at Grange Castle and it's one of the biggest facilities of its type in Europe.

The data centre operations are used by Microsoft as cloud computing hubs. Between 2007 and 2014, Microsoft was granted planning permission for four data centre facilities at Grange Castle. The first was constructed in 2008. Three others are also now operational.

"These data centre facilities were originally designed to meet Microsoft Ireland's data centre server requirements based on projections completed in 2007," the company told the council in its latest planning application.

"Since that time, the demand for online services has expanded exponentially and additional data centre development is required to allow Microsoft Ireland to meet an ever-growing worldwide demand for the services it offers over the internet," it added. The company received planning permission in 2013 and 2015 for two more phases of its data centre expansion. The first phase of that expansion has been completed and the second phase is just about to get under way. Microsoft said that the "increasing move" of social and business life to the cloud means that current facilities are approaching their capacity "ahead of the most conservative predictions of five years ago".

The current application that has just been approved by the council is phase three of Microsoft's data centre development at Grange Castle.

Microsoft, whose Irish managing director is Cathriona Hallahan, opened its Irish base in 1985.

The company confirmed that it had opted for Ireland for the current project due to its temperate climate.

"The selection of Ireland as the preferred country location for this development was based largely on climatic conditions and strategic business considerations," it said.

Billions of euro are being invested in Irish data centres by global giants such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Apple is planning to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway. Facebook recently started construction of a €200m data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.

Amazon has a number of data centres in Dublin to support its huge web services business, and has begun construction on a major new project beside Dublin Airport.

It is also planning to build on the former Jacob's biscuit factory in the capital.

Irish Independent