Donegal wind farm to power Amazon Web Services

Ian Brennan

Wind farm to be built in Donegal to power Amazon Web Services.

Amazon have bought the entire output from a wind farm which will be constructed in Donegal to supply Amazon Web Services data centres.

The wind farm will be developed in the Meenbog area, located just south of Ballybofey, by Invis Energy and, according to Amazon, will be done without any public subsidies.

This will make it the first Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to be completely unsubsidised, the company says, in Ireland.

John Callaghan, who lives a couple of kilometres from the site where the wind farm has been built, has said that residents in the area have accepted that the plans are likely to go through, even with any local opposition.

“I think in the Meenbog area, everyone’s just sort of ‘this is the way it’s going to be’. I think no matter what people think or say, this is just going to happen anyway,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s something we can do anything about, I think that’s the general consensus.”

Callaghan says he works out of the country in Britain, but that he also returns home every week.

Callaghan also added that despite the feelings of those in the Meenbog area, there has been some backlash from nearby towns.

“I know there is backlash to it in the town (of Ballybofey) and surrounding areas,” he commented.

Amazon’s Web Services data centres in Ireland provide cloud services for businesses all over the world, and this wind farm would supply them with over 91 Megawatts of power.

The project is scheduled to be complete with the farm fully operational by the end of 2021 at the latest.

An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant the permission for development was appealed in a high court application by birds of prey conservationist group, the Irish Raptor Study Group.

The matter, however, was settled between the two parties out of court and a full hearing never happened.

Data centres require significant amounts of power to run, with Eirgrid predicting that by 2027, data centres will be responsible for around a quarter of all electricity used in Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Environment Richard Bruton have welcomed the plans, with Minister Bruton saying that Ireland’s electricity will go from 30 per cent to 70 per cent from renewable sources.

Last year it was announced by Amazon that they would be doubling their workforce in Ireland over the course of two years, adding an extra 1,000 jobs to the market.

Ian Brennan

Image Credit: Isabella Finn