Irish-owned data centre owner and operator, Echelon Data Centres and green energy developer SSE Renewables have announced an agreement to develop a joint 220kV substation at the Avoca River Business Park, Arklow, Ireland.
The new infrastructure will facilitate the development of Ireland’s first large-scale offshore wind farm, off the coast of Co. Wicklow with an export capacity of 520MW, and Echelon’s DUB20 (Arklow) 100MW data centre.
The joint initiative marks the first time in Ireland that an offshore wind farm and a data centre have agreed to develop grid infrastructure. The substation development is expected to require an investment of around €50m to deliver. Upon completion, the proposed offshore wind farm and data centre will both directly connect to the Irish national grid via the new shared substation.
The development agreement will support the delivery of 250 new jobs for Arklow. This includes the creation of up to 80 new jobs during the construction of the substation. Upon completion of both the technology and renewable energy projects, the data centre will support 90 full-time operational roles while a further 80 full-time jobs will be created locally to support the day-to-day operation of the offshore wind farm.
Welcoming the initiative, An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin said, "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 decarbonisation targets contained in the Climate Action Plan are met and is a model which could be rolled out in other communities across the country."
He added, "I would like to pay tribute to Echelon and SSE Renewables – having identified an opportunity to share infrastructure to promote sustainability, they worked collaboratively to ensure their vision became a reality."