Plans by online retail giant Amazon for three new data centres in north Dublin “goes against the best interests of the country”, according to objectors.
The Not Here Not Anywhere group, which is opposed to the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure here, has lodged an objection with Fingal County Council.
In December, on behalf of Amazon, Universal Developers LLC lodged plans with the council for the three new data centre buildings with a combined power load of 73MW for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centre campus on a 65-acre landholding at Cruiserath Road, Dublin 15.
In addition to the three new proposed centres, Amazon has one data centre in operation 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.
On behalf of Not Here Not Anywhere, Angela Deegan, from Drumcondra, told the council that “in the middle of an energy crisis, like Ireland’s electricity grid at risk of failure in winter, large, wasteful energy data centres simply cannot be allowed to use any more of the nation’s gas and electricity”.
She said that “as powering the data centre entirely with on-site or new off-site renewable energy would not be feasible based on this application, permission for its development should be refused”.
In a separate objection, Eimear Manning, from Clonshaugh, said the jobs that would be created would “not justify the disproportionately large production of CO2”.
Ms Manning told the council the primary reason for her objection was “the inordinate levels of CO2 emissions that would be created per year by this development”.
“While I understand that the applicant has suggested that renewable energy will be used to power this campus, the concept of ‘offsetting’ carbon dioxide is inherently harmful. It gives the false impression that a project such as this development will not be damaging to the environment,” she said.
Another objector, Bray resident Art Ó Laoghaire, told the council that if Ireland was to address the climate crisis, “there needs to be a complete moratorium on data centres”.
Planning consultant for the scheme, John Spain and Associates, said the new data centres represented “a significant investment that will create additional, direct and indirect and induced economic and employment benefits”.