Amazon gets green light for Meath data center despite opposition

ONLINE GIANT AMAZON has been given the green light for a new data center in County Meath despite opposition from An Taisce.

This follows An Bord Pleanála granting planning permission for the project after concluding that Tunis Properties LLC’s proposal would not have a significant impact on climate or national legally binding emissions targets related to greenhouse gases.

The project stalled after An Taisce last July appealed a decision by Meath County Council to grant planning for the 48-megawatt (MW) data center for the IDA business park on the outskirts of Drogheda.

Amazon already operates a data center in the business park and Amazon Web Services (AWS) has stated that cumulative demand for the three phases of data center development in the IDA business park will have a peak demand of 144 MW.

AWS claims that the 144MW is equivalent to about 473,040 tons of CO2 per year.

His filing of appeal by John Spain & Associates that this is a worst case scenario and will likely decrease as the national fuel mix decreases in carbon intensity as the grid reaches the 70% renewable mix target by 2030.

The new data center represents the second phase of development of the business park.

The appeals board inspector in the case, Barry O’Donnell, recommended that planning permission be granted after noting that indirect CO2 emissions from electricity to service the facility do not count or affect the reduction target. of Ireland emissions and will instead be regulated under EU Emissions. Trading Scheme, which sets EU-wide targets for sectors within the scheme.

A report commissioned by Amazon has estimated that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made a €2 billion capital investment in its network of data centers here over the last decade.

In his appeal, An Taisce argued that the Councils and the appeals board are granting permits for data centers on a case-by-case basis without adequately addressing the cumulative impacts of energy use.

Figures provided in the appeal indicate there are 70 data centers in operation using 900MW and another eight under consideration, expected to use an additional 250MW.

An Taisce stated that growth has been unchecked with data centers now consuming 11 per cent of Ireland’s grid-generated electricity and forecast to grow to 31 per cent by 2027.

An Taisce further stated that the uninhibited development of data centers is diluting the benefits of renewable power generation that has taken place in the last 20 to 30 years.

An Taisce said existing and planned data centers to be built in the next seven years are projected to require an additional 12.5 terawatts of power beyond current generation amounts, enough to power 24 million homes.

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In response, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) presentation stated that it is not a question of a disproportionate number of data centers in Ireland.

Spain stated that the planning policy supports the delivery of data centers in Ireland and a location such as that of the site in question is considered an optimal location for these developments.

Spain further argued that if permission for data centers were withheld for the reasons outlined in the An Taisce appeal, no large industrial energy development could secure development, which would stop economic growth.

Spain stated that the proposal “represents an important part of AWS’s investment in Ireland”.

Spain stated that the appeal failed to acknowledge that Ireland is recognized as a sustainable location for data center development, in terms of planning policy.

With planning permission secured, AWS is now in a position to apply to Eirgrid to secure a connection agreement for electricity supply.

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