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Irish

'Hundreds of millions' to be invested in data centre in Meath

Operation of campus could create 275 'high-quality' jobs

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There are currently 54 data centres in Ireland, with 642 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected power capacity. This is expected to grow to nearly 1,500MW by 2024 (stock photo)
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EngineNode, an Irish data centre company, has applied for planning permission to build a huge data storage campus near Bracetown, Co Meath, believed to involve an investment worth "hundreds of millions of euro".

The company, established last year, was set up by Jason O'Conaill, Eir's former head of data centres and founder of Amazon Web Services Usergroup Ireland, and Ronan Kneafsey, a former managing director of telecoms and data centres at Eir.

Last week, Enginenode applied for a 10-year planning permission for development on the 60-acre site, which is near a data centre owned by Facebook in Clonee.

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The company submitted documents for pre-validation to Meath County Council last Friday. A decision on the campus is expected by January 25 next.

According to documents seen by the Sunday Independent, the building process is expected to provide for up to 500 construction jobs.

Once operational, it is likely that the data campus will support around 275 "high-quality" jobs, along with a "significant number" of ongoing contractor jobs.

The group also committed to the site being developed and operated sustainably. The proposed development is to consist of four two-storey data centre buildings with a combined floor area of nearly 92,200 sq m.

Enginenode has said it plans to lay the site out in a campus-style format.

The plan includes provision for office and ancillary buildings, an electrical substation, plus fibre, gas and water utility connections.

Subject to planning approval from Meath County Council, the site is to be constructed in four phases as part of a ten-year project.

The planning notice also proposes the construction of an 8,900 sq m energy centre.

The energy centre is set to comprise of gas engines and four 40-metre-high exhaust flues, with a standby diesel generator.

Ancillary facilities on-site include an above-ground installation for gas connection and a temporary ESB MV substation to support the development.

It also proposes for the construction of a car park with room for 245 spaces.

Documents issued to local residents include details that the developer plans a "significant planting" of native plants and trees to encourage local wildlife and vegetation. It also includes details of a natural meadow within the site to help create a "pleasant work environment".

Damien O'Reilly, a Fianna Fáil councillor at Meath County Council, welcomed the news as a sign of the area's attractiveness for foreign direct investment.

"This is a great economic announcement for the Clonee and Dunboyne area," Cllr O'Reilly said.

"[This investment] yet again highlights the attractiveness of south-east Meath for foreign direct investment and as a prime business location, with construction-ready prime sites [and] access to motorways, rail lines and Dublin Airport."

A recent report by industry initiative Host In Ireland has highlighted the continued upward trend of data centre construction here, despite a fall in overall construction activity.

It outlines that Ireland is projected to bring in more than €4.5bn in direct investment from data centre construction by 2025.

There are currently 54 data centres in Ireland, with 642 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected power capacity. This is expected to grow to nearly 1,500MW by 2024.

Sunday Indo Business

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There are currently 54 data centres in Ireland, with 642 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected power capacity. This is expected to grow to nearly 1,500MW by 2024 (stock photo)