Facebook opens €300m Clonee data centre

Social media giant building massive complex entirely fuelled by renewable energy

Social media giant Facebook opened a new data centre on Thursday in Clonee, Co Meath. The centre is built on a 250-acre site that was formerly two farms adjoining the headquarters of the Kepak meat business.

About 300 Facebook staff are based on the site – one of six such data centres globally – which handles the data of 2.5 billion Facebook users across the world.

Work on the centre started in April 2016 in what is understood to be a €300 million investment project. It features two 2,369sq m (25,500sq ft) buildings currently housing eight data halls, linked by an administration building. A third data hall is currently under construction and two further blocks are going through the planning process.

If successful, that will see up to 500 people employed at the centre, which Facebook says is one of the most advanced and energy efficient data centres in the world.


Renewable energy

The energy requirements of the centre are provided fully by renewable wind energy, in partnership with Brookfield Renewables, Niall McEntegart, Facebook's data centre operations director for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific, said. The Louth man said that a 220kV substation has been built on site.

Mr McEntegart described the building of the Clonee centre – the “engine of the internet” – as the biggest construction project in the country in recent times. He said some 200,000km of fibre was running through the three blocks – enough to wrap around the world five times.

“Data is spread across multiple centres globally in the unlikely event something major ever happened at one of them. Users’ data would still be protected,” Mr McEntegart said.