Shortall calls on council to refuse planning permission for Dublin data centre

Energia says scheme will be ‘a sustainably managed, carbon neutral data centre’

 Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shorthall TD said granting permission ‘could seriously risk local electrical and water infrastructure’.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shorthall TD said granting permission ‘could seriously risk local electrical and water infrastructure’. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Co-leader of the Social Democrats Róisín Shortall has urged Fingal County Council to refuse planning permission for a data centre close to Huntstown Power Station in north Dublin.

The planning proposal, lodged by Energia in August, is to include two data hall centre buildings and will provide over 1,050 construction jobs and 181 jobs when operational.

In her objection, the Dublin North-West TD said she would “strongly urge Fingal County Council to refuse planning permission in this case”.

She said “a moratorium on data centres is urgently needed to consider their impact on our climate action targets and energy security”.

Ms Shorthall said granting permission “could seriously risk local electrical and water infrastructure and this must be considered by the council. . . Our antiquated electricity grid cannot sustain further data centres”.

“In the last four years alone, the increase in demand from data centres on our power supply has been equivalent to the addition of 140,000 homes each year,” she said.

A nationwide group campaigning to end fossil fuel exploration, Not Here Not Anywhere is also objecting to the proposal and has called on the council to refuse permission.

Carbon neutral

However, in a statement on Wednesday, Energia pointed out the scheme will be “a sustainably managed, carbon neutral data centre”.

The energy firm stated it “will ensure, through the use of new dedicated renewable capacity that it is currently developing, that the proposed data centre will have a net-zero carbon footprint”.

“Low carbon, energy efficient systems will be used throughout the data centre including free air cooling and heat recovery.”

The project has been in development for four years and Energia said the location for the proposed data centre “is beside Energia’s long established power stations at Huntstown with the necessary electricity generating and transmission infrastructure already in place to support the development”.  

“In addition, planned infrastructure upgrades as part of the overall development will significantly enhance energy supply and dispatch capability locally and for the national grid in the Dublin area.”

Energia said the proposal already has a connection offer from EirGrid “as it fulfils the national grid operator’s data centre connection policy”. 

It also said the proposed centre has also been assessed by Irish Water and can be facilitated in the system. A decision is due on the application later this month.