More than €1bn in Irish data centre investments in second quarter

Announcement of 10 new projects brings planned investment until 2021 to 9.3 billion

Irish data centres employ about 5,700 people and have generated €1.6 billion in direct economic benefits since 2010.

Irish data centres employ about 5,700 people and have generated €1.6 billion in direct economic benefits since 2010.

 

Apple’s decision to shelve plans for a €850 million data centre in Co Galway hasn’t stopped other companies from wanting to build such facilities here, a new report shows.

More than €1 billion of new data centre projects were announced in the Republic in the second quarter of the year bringing the total planned investment in such facilities up until 2021 to €9.3 billion.

Amazon, Google, CyrusOne and Crag Digital were among the companies to announce 10 new investments between April and June.

Overall, €1.2 billion was invested in constructing data facilities here last year with forecasts indicating total investment for 2018 will be €1.1 billion. About €1.5 billion is expected to be invested in new facilities next year, with a further €1.4 billion in 2020.

According to figures compiled by Host in Ireland and Bitpower, 46 data centres are currently in operation in the Republic, with the largest cluster southwest of Dublin. An additional eight new facilities are under construction with a further 12 having received planning permission.

The report reveals total data centre capacity in Ireland is currently 483 megawatts (MW) of power with a further 138MW of power under construction. Overall, capacity is expected to grow to more than 1,200MW by 2024.

“Ireland remains attractive as a country at the forefront of an industry building modern digital infrastructure which has evolved to become one of the pillars for attracting foreign direct investment,” said Host in Ireland founder Gary Connolly.

A recent report by Grant Thornton carried out on behalf of IDA Ireland found that Irish data centres employ about 5,700 people and have generated €1.6 billion in direct economic benefits since 2010.

Apple

In a recent interview with The Irish Times, Apple chief executive Tim Cook also said the tech giant may consider locating another data centre in Ireland when its requirements dictated that Apple needed to expand its data centre capacity. “We don’t plan on stopping growing, and so things will come back around at some point in time,” he said.

A two-year delay caused by legal appeals against a previous Apple data centre project saw Athenry in Co Galway ultimately lose out on the investment as the tech giant opted for another location. Mr Cook said he would welcome changes proposed by the Government to planning rules that would reduce time limits for some planning applications and tighten the rules for who is eligible to take judicial review proceedings.

Mr Cook said the company respected the Irish planning process, it just needed to work more quickly to provide certainty for businesses trying to make decisions that impacted their future.

“This was something that we really wanted to do and we stuck with it for quite a long time in the hope that things would move forward. We very much respect that there has to be a process for people to disagree, and I think that’s positive,” he said. “I would hope that the process can just work faster because businesses need a level of certainty over time. That doesn’t mean that every call should be what we want or what any company wants, but the speed of it is key.”