EngineNode: EngineNode data center gets green light despite environmental concerns

Jul 14, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Another environmental controversy has arisen in Ireland, as Ireland’s planning board, An Bord Pleanála dismissed complaints by locals and environmental groups, granting EngineNode permission to build data center in Bracetown and Gunnocks, County Meath, Ireland. 

The building plan first submitted in 2019 included proposals to build four two-tory data centers spanning 92,100 sqm (990,000 sq ft). An on-site energy center was also included in the plans, but this is no longer a feature. An Bord Pleanála granted permission on the basis that EngineNode pays €1.85 million towards the new Bracetown Link Road, which it initially tried to thwart.

Last year, An Taisce and Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE), appealed against the company’s planning permission application, arguing that already Ireland hosts a disproportionate number of facilities. This is an issue that has been put under the spotlight by the country’s grid operator EirGrid. Its recent report outlined that data centers are putting increasing pressure on Ireland’s electricity supply, and by 2028, it could account for 29% of demand.

These concerns have ultimately been dismissed by senior planning inspector Karla McBride who told the Irish Times she is “satisfied that this issue will be ultimately addressed as Ireland moves towards its objective of providing 70pc of its energy renewable sources by 2030.”

Residents in the area also expressed their unhappiness with the company’s development plans and complained that the site would radically change the local landscape. Speaking to the Irish Times, one local said: “Our landscape view will be dramatically changed forever. Instead of living in a pleasant rural location, we shall now be living in the middle of an intensive industrial estate.”

Although the economic benefits will be of little comfort for some, the project is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and 275 jobs once the facility is operational.

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