Intel to seek fresh planning permission as it vies for new chip plant

Co Kildare plant seeks to stay in race for $4 billion manufacturing facility

Intel Ireland’s  latest planning application is for a smaller facility than the one for which it got permission in 2013. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Intel Ireland’s latest planning application is for a smaller facility than the one for which it got permission in 2013. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

Intel Ireland is vying to stay in the race for an estimated $4 billion new chip-manufacturing facility at its headquarters in Leixlip by lodging a fresh planning application with Kildare County Council.

Intel’s corporate parent in the US has yet to decide whether to pull the trigger on building the mooted new plant, and Ireland is competing with other locations, most notably Israel, to land the investment.

The Irish arm of Intel previously received a 10-year permission for the plant in 2013, which its local management said “sits ready to be used if and when the corporation needs to use it”.

Design

Since that permission was granted, however, the standard design of Intel’s manufacturing plants, known as “fabs”, has changed. Intel Ireland said yesterday it would lodge a fresh planning application on Friday to keep itself in the hunt, should its parent decide to give the go-ahead.

The latest application is for a smaller facility than the one for which it got permission in 2013, which at the time was estimated could create more than 3,000 jobs during construction and fit out, and would cost $4 billion.

Intel said yesterday the new application, as well as reducing the footprint, would also site the proposed manufacturing plant further back from the N4 road. It would also be lower in height than the 2013 version.

The latest application also seeks permission for a car park to hold 2,200 cars, indicating that, if the project proceeded, it would likely provide a significant permanent employment boost to the area.

More efficient

Intel Ireland said yesterday that there was no new information from its parent about if or when a new plant would be built.

“But without an up-to-date planning permission, we can’t even be part of the discussion,” it said.

It said the “specifics change” for its manufacturing plant designs over time, making them “more efficient” and hence smaller.

“By lodging a fresh planning application, it is just prudent planning and normal business practice,” it said.

Intel employs about 5,200 staff in Ireland, an undisclosed number of whom were identified for redundancy earlier this year as part of a global restructuring.