Plans to be lodged for 1.2 billion data centre for outside Ennis

 

Plans are to be lodged with Clare County Council in the coming days for a new €1.2 billion data centre campus on the outskirts of Ennis, which will create 250 data centre jobs and 1,200 jobs during the project's construction phase.

The new Ennis data centre campus, identified by Clare County Council as a key pillar of the Ennis 2040 Economic Plan for the area, will comprise a vertical farm and six data halls designed on a flexible and modular basis, covering 145 acres or 1.3 million sq ft.

The site is located on the Tulla Rd on the eastern outskirts of Ennis at Junction 13 on the M18 motorway connecting Galway to Limerick.

A planning notice published last week shows that the promoters are seeking a 10 year planning permission for an application with a net area for development of 111 acres. The application site covers the townlands of Tooreen, Cahernalough, Muckinish, Knockanean, Ballymacahill and Roslevan.

The scheme involves the demolition of a single storey farm dwelling house and eight farm buildings.

The six two storey data centre buildings are to be a maximum height of 19 metres or 62 feet.

The accompanying energy centre and (Above Ground Installation) will be 4,674 sq metres in size. The energy centre is to consist of 18 lean burn natural gas engines and each generator will have its own flue of 25 metres or 82 ft in height.

The planning application is to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The applicant, Art Data Centres Ltd., has been working on the project since 2018 and construction of the art data centre campus will be phased over a six-year period commencing in late 2022.

The scheme has been designed by data centre specialists Colin Hyde of ARC:MC, and Robert Thorogood of Hdrinc.

The scheme will have access to 200 mega-watts of power from both the network grid and gas generation on site.

The proposed site was zoned in 2019 by members of Clare County Council for 'data centres & power generating infrastructure'.

Tom McNamara of Tom McNamara & Partners, said: "Development of this data centre campus has been specifically identified as a transformational site by Clare County Council in its Draft Ennis 2040 Economic & Spatial Plan and is in accordance with the Government's role for data centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy.

"With EirGrid increasingly focused on data centres locating away from Dublin and the east coast to reduce pressure on existing grid infrastructure in those areas, projects like this can avail of underused grid capacity in other regions and tap into the growing number of renewable energy developments in the west and south of the country that offer clean sources of power," Mr McNamara added.

"Additionally, more dispersed data centre developments like this help diversify economic growth and job creation to regions outside of Dublin.

"Over many years, Ennis, as the largest town in Munster, has been striving to lay the foundations for inward investment and has been successfully building connectivity as part of becoming an 'information age town' and because of its access to power, fibre and location close to Shannon international airport, it is a natural home for this project."

The submission of the Art Data Centre planning application follows an online public consultation run by Tom McNamara & Partners, which involved an interactive panel room over viewing all the pertinent information on the project.

This was set up to mitigate against the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions which precluded an in-person consultation.