Planning files have been lodged for the €1.2bn data centre campus in Ennis.
Located on the Tulla Rd on the eastern outskirts of Ennis at Junction 13 on the M18 motorway, 250 jobs will be created in the data centre, 1,200 in construction and 600 in support services.
Published on Friday, the planning notice details 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.
Identified by Clare County Council as a key pillar of the controversial Ennis 2040 Plan, the campus will comprise a vertical farm and six data halls designed on a flexible and modular basis, covering 145 acres/1.3 million sq ft and boosting economic development in the region.
Lands were zoned in March 2019 with Director of Economic Development with the Council, Liam Conneally predicting at the time that the data centre would become “a game-changer project not just for Ennis but for Co Clare”. Local authority officials have previously stated that the development can result in investment of €400m to €500m.
Initial discussions expected the data centre to cost €400m but this has risen significantly to €1.2bn. Facebook’s data centre in Lulea, Sweden was visited prior to work commencing on the plans for the Ennis equivalent.
Construction is to be phased over six years commencing late in 2022. Data centre specialists Colin Hyde of ARC:MC, and Robert Thorogood of HDRInc have designed the plans. It has access to 200 mega-watts of power from both the network grid and gas generation on site.
Tom McNamara, of the Development Managers Tom McNamara & Partners outlined, “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. 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 Ennis Eirgrid Network Sub Station adjacent to the new Art Data Centre Campus will provide a very high level of power supply-side diversity with grid power being supplemented by a gas generator-based energy centre to generate additional power.