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Echelon agree construction funding for Arklow data centre

Echelon Data Centres Limited (Echelon), the Irish data centre owner and operator, has agreed construction funding for its project in Arklow,. The agreement has been reached with Pioneer Point Partners (Pioneer), together with Davidson Kempner European Partners.

In 2019, Echelon announced its intention to invest €1bn in its data centre facilities, and with funding now in place, it can begin work on infrastructure construction. Echelon is projecting an 18-month build time and looking to deliver the first tranche of capacity at Clondalkin, Co.Dublin in Q3 2021, and at Arklow in Q4 2021.

Niall Molloy, Chief Executive of Echelon Data Centres, believes the market for data centre capacity is set to grow beyond predictions – partly driven by the ‘new normal’ resulting from the global pandemic – and that this level of investment is key to meeting the demand.

“The predictions say the dataverse (total amount of data created each year) will reach 175 zettabytes by 2025 (from 33 zettabytes in 2018), however that was before the explosion in machine learning (ML) technology and the realisation of more and more of the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). 

“Add to this the new reliance on messaging, video calling, streaming and webcasting (one cloud service provider claims as much as 775% usage increase in regions implementing social distancing measures) – and the likelihood of this continuing post-pandemic – and the rationale for increasing data centre capacity is unassailable.

“The funding agreement that we have reached with Pioneer and Davidson Kempner will allow us to deliver a minimum of 184MW of capacity across two sites, with the potential for further capacity at other sites here in Ireland and in Europe. 

Put into context, that 184MW represents more than 10% of all data centre capacity either operational, under construction, with planning permission or in the planning process across Ireland as a whole.

“Pioneer has a stated interest in renewable energy projects, which fits well with Echelon’s philosophy of data centres as an enabler of renewable energy resource (given their consistent demand profile) and will be helpful in addressing the sustainability and climate change goals of all our key stakeholders.”

Rupert Shaw of Pioneer Point Partners commented “Sustainable energy provision for data centres is becoming increasingly important, capital intensive and requiring of specialist investment expertise.  This investment theme is a key focus area for Pioneer, with Ireland being a priority due to its strategic importance as one of the largest technology hubs in Europe. Pioneer identified Echelon as the ideal partner in Ireland due to its two developed large-scale projects, its pipeline and the strength of its management team.”

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