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Echelon Data Centres and SSE Renewables to develop shared grid infrastructure

Written by Tue 17 Nov 2020

SSE Renewables to develop and construct €50m 220kV substation for joint use with Echelon

Echelon is teaming up with renewables developer SSE Renewables on an onshore substation that will connect the Irish operator’s upcoming Arklow data centre to Ireland’s first large-scale offshore wind farm.

Subject to planning approval, SSE Renewables will develop and construct the 220kV substation on behalf of both developers for shared use by Echelon’s 100MW DUB20 facility and Arklow Bank, SSE’s planned 520MW offshore wind farm.

Arklow Bank, 13 kilometres off Ireland’s east coast is in development and will produce 1.75TWh of electricity when completed in 2025. Planning permission is in place for Echelon‘s 45,000 sqm Arklow campus, scheduled for occupation from Q4 2021.

The agreement marks the first time in Ireland that an offshore wind farm and data centre have agreed to develop and share grid infrastructure. The initiative is estimated to provide 250 new jobs in Arklow, 170 of which will be full-time.

Upon completion, both the offshore wind farm and data centre will directly connect to the Irish national grid via the shared substation.

Irish Prime Minister, Micheál Martin, praised the companies for supporting Ireland’s decarbonisation goals, which include facilitating regionally-located data centres and minimising grid reinforcements.

“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,” Martin said.

“I would like to pay tribute to SSE Renewables and Echelon – having identified an opportunity to share infrastructure to promote sustainability, they worked collaboratively to ensure their vision became a reality.”

“This is a major innovation for the integration of renewables and data centres into Ireland’s national grid,” Barry Kilcline, Director of Developments at SSE Renewables said.

“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, which we’re on track to deliver to help meet the Government’s 2025 target of 1GW of offshore wind, and to enable the connection of Echelon’s planned data centre for South Wicklow.”

Irish-owned Echelon Data Centres has five locations in various stages of development, including three €500m facilities in Ireland and a £150m London Docklands facility, the company’s first outside of Ireland and the first to grace the data-centre heavy Docklands since the 1990s.

Speaking to Techerati last year, CTO Simon McCormick highlighted sustainability as a central component of the company’s strategy for 2020 and beyond.

Written by Tue 17 Nov 2020


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