Echelon Data Centres and green energy developer SSE Renewables have announced a deal t to develop a joint 220kV substation at the Avoca River Business Park, Arklow, Ireland. The infrastructure will facilitate the development of Ireland’s first offshore wind farm, off the coast of Co. Wicklow with an export capacity of 520MW, and Echelon’s DUB20 100MW data centre.
The initiative marks the first time that an offshore wind farm and a data centre have agreed to develop grid infrastructure together. The development is expected to require an investment of €50m to deliver. Upon completion, the proposed offshore wind farm and data centre will both connect to the Irish national grid via the shared substation.
The deal is a step forward for the renewable energy and data centre sectors. Sharing grid infrastructure and locating data centres close to renewable sources of generation delivers on a key decarbonisation goal set out in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan to facilitate regional data centres, minimising grid reinforcements. It would also help to deliver a Climate Action Plan target of installing 1GW of offshore wind by 2025.
The deal will support the delivery of 250 new jobs for Arklow. This includes up to 80 jobs during construction. Upon completion, the data centre will support 90 full-time roles. whilst a further 80 full-time jobs will be created to support the operation of the offshore wind farm.
Welcoming the initiative Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD exclaims; “This announcement is a welcome boost for Arklow; it not only provides new job opportunities, it also places Arklow at the heart of the green tech sector. This collaboration between renewable energy and tech will ensure that key targets are met.
“I would like to pay tribute to Echelon and SSE Renewables – having identified an opportunity to share infrastructure to promote sustainability, they’ve worked collaboratively to ensure their vision became a reality.”
Niall Molloy, CEO of Echelon Data Centres says;
“We’re delighted to be working with SSE Renewables – contributing greatly to the country’s targets of delivering 1GW of offshore renewable energy by 2025.
“It is also a model for the future, where data centre facilities are located close to the source of renewable energy, providing a constant demand for the power and working with renewable energy providers to facilitate the development of the necessary infrastructure.”
Barry Kilcline, Director of Developments at SSE Renewables comments;
“This is a major innovation for the integration of renewables and data centres into Ireland’s national grid. Through this landmark agreement with Echelon Data Centres we will develop new shared grid infrastructure at Arklow that will facilitate the development of the next phase of the 520MW Arklow Bank Wind Park.”
SSE Renewables is actively developing Phase 2 of Arklow Bank Wind Park which will be located in a lease area situated six to 13km off Ireland’s Co. Wicklow coastline. The wind farm has the potential to reduce Ireland’s annual carbon emissions by 1%, offsetting half a million tonnes of CO2.