ENNIS DATA CENTRE
Prepared by Futureproof Clare, Extinction Rebellion Clare & Clare Environmental Network, August 2021
You can sign our planning submission at our stall at The Heights in Ennis on Wednesday, 18th August, from 12:30-7:30pm. But to make your own submission, read on…
Template planning submission
Below is a template letter of objection to Ennis Data Centre. You can adapt, modify and add to this letter as you wish. Instructions on how to submit your objection are further down on this page.
You can read the planning application here:
Thank you for taking the time to make your submission!
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Clare County Council
Áras Contae an Chláir
Planning Application Reference Number: 21/757 Clare County Council
Applicant: Art Data Centres Ltd
I refer to the above planning application and wish to make the following submission / objection in relation to the proposed development.
I wish to object to the proposed development based on the points outlined below:
1. The extremely high electricity consumption will increase Ireland’s carbon emissions at a time when we urgently need to reduce them
The proposed data centre has a 200Mw load - this is a huge amount of energy, the equivalent to the electricity consumption of approximately 210,000 homes, which is the number of homes in Clare, Limerick and Kerry combined. 120Mw of this power will be generated from gas turbines on-site and 80Mw will come from the grid. Either way, gas will be burnt to power this data centre during a climate emergency, when Ireland is supposed to be reducing national emissions by 51% under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill. The proposed development will increase our fossil fuel emissions and is incompatible with this Bill.
The proposed development involves construction of a very large, new fossil-fuel burning power station on site. Peer-reviewed science is now very clear about the hugely significant climate implications of burning fossil gas to generate electricity. Due to the inevitable leakage of methane during extraction, processing and transportation, using gas to generate power releases more methane into the atmosphere than using coal or oil. Methane has a global warming potential 87 times higher than carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after emission.
[Prof Robert Howarth: Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?
The Council should stipulate that any data centre must be powered either by:
• on-site direct renewable power source generation
• off-site renewable power source with dedicated grid connection
• a renewable addition to the grid, at least to the level of the total annual
generating capacity required by the development.
2. On-site generation from gas-burning with no plan to use waste heat for district heating
The proposed “energy centre” is a gas-powered electricity plant, which will generate a significant amount of waste heat. The Council can and should make it a condition of permission that the waste heat be used in district heating systems. This is standard practice in many countries, Russia being one example.
3. Water usage
Peak demand of water usage stands at around 1,000,000 litres of water per day. This amounts to just less than half of the total water demand for Ennis (2,425,000 litres per day based on a conservative estimate of 100 litres per person per day on average). Rainwater collection cannot be relied upon, due to uneven patterns of precipitation which will become even more erratic as the climate changes. Cooling the data centre will divert a valuable resource away from the local community, a situation which is likely to get worse as water scarcity becomes more of a problem and population increases. A region with ample water today may become water-stressed in 10 to 30 years. We have recently witnessed that protracted periods of temperatures above 26 C with no precipitation are becoming more frequent in Ireland. The UN expects water demand to outpace supply by almost 40% as soon as 2030. Greater consideration needs to be given to how available resources are going to be used.
4. Insufficient public consultation
A public consultation (online due to Covid guidelines) was undertaken on April 21st 2021 with local residents only and does not appear to have been advertised widely. Clare Public Participation Network was not informed, nor was Clare Environmental Network which represents over 20 environmental NGOS, community groups and conservation organisations in Co. Clare, which in turn represent hundreds of Clare residents. Councillors were informed, but did not pass this information on to their constituents in any transparent fashion.
On the basis of the above, I trust my concerns will be taken into consideration prior to a decision being reached on this planning application.
Is mise le meas,
HOW TO LODGE YOUR OBJECTION
Objections must be lodged with the Council by 4pm on 19th August.
A fee of €20, payable by cheque, credit card or bank transfer is needed. Either you can include a cheque or the Planning Department will call you to take a payment once the objection is received. Be sure to include a contact phone number.
For more info, see the Council website: