Fingal planning approval means more diesel, not just data

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Fingal planning approval means more diesel, not just data

Planning approval of Amazon data centres a threat to our energy security, our pollution limits, and Government’s credibility of this government on climate

On Tuesday 19 September Fingal County Council approved the development of new data centres by Amazon Web Services in north Dublin.

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy in Friends of the Earth stated:

This decision highlights the contradiction between our climate obligations and the state’s laissez-faire approach to data centre planning. The danger here is that, such is the size of these data centre developments, they risk locking-in polluting fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come. And in the case of the Amazon proposal, the application includes the construction of several dirty diesel generators on the site.  This dependency on dirty diesel makes a mockery of Amazon’s own commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2025.

It is extremely concerning that Fingal County Council appear to have dismissed the clear threats that data centres pose to our climate commitments, notwithstanding the legal obligations on the Council to act in a manner consistent with Ireland’s binding pollution limits. It is evident that the addition of such huge electricity demand will mean more polluting emissions and undermine the achievement of our climate targets. Friends of the Earth will strongly consider an objection to this decision.

Ireland is well-placed to take advantage of the renewables revolution that’s now taking place and this will bring major benefits. However, it cannot keep pace with data centre demand growth. Fundamentally our support for renewables and the transition to a decarbonised system was not planned simply to meet the needs of more data centres. If data centre growth uses a significant amount of our increasing renewables, this will limit the potential for transport, buildings and industry to meet their decarbonisation commitments.

A much more critical and nuanced approach for assessing and approving data centre applications is needed. We are calling for a clear moratorium on new data centre connections until new regulations and powers are provided to relevant state bodies.


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