Irish data center firm Echelon is reportedly growing “frustrated” with how long it is taking to connect a planned project to the electricity grid.

The DUB20 project, outside Dublin in County Wicklow’s Arklow, is reportedly outside Dublin’s constrained area where EirGrid has said no more data center connection applications can be granted.

echelon dub20
– Echelon Data Centers

Citing “industry insiders,” the Irish Times reports the company has been in discussion with EirGrid around connecting its upcoming DUB20 campus to the grid for around two years. The sources said there are "no immediate signs" of a conclusion to the negotiations.

First announced in 2019 and set on a 100-acre site south of the Irish capital, DUB20 is set to offer 90MW in phase one across 45,000 sqm (484,000 sq ft), eventually growing to more than 200MW. The site will include a biogas power plant and be connected to a nearby wind farm.

The first phase was originally due to go live in 2021; plans were then pushed back to break ground in Q3 2021 and be operational by Q3 2022.

In a statement to the publication, Echelon denied it had begun legal action over the delay, and told DCD it is "continuing to engage with EirGrid" over its grid connection application.

“This process is ongoing and is commercially sensitive,” the company said in a statement. “Echelon cannot comment on any course of action that may be open to it in the future.”

EirGrid declined to comment to the Times.

A de facto moratorium has been in operation in Dublin since the start of 2022 after EirGrid said the grid in the capital was under strain, and no new data center applications are expected to be granted a grid connection before 2028.

However, the Times reports the project is outside the areas where electricity supplies are constrained, will have its own power generator, be able to supply the national grid at times of peak demand, and will be able to cut electricity consumption when requested.

Amid a hostile landscape, even projects with pre-existing connection permissions from EirGrid have faced difficulties getting planning permission.

Equinix, Vantage, and EdgeConneX all saw planning permission denied for new data centers last year, with all three lodging appeals with the national planning regulator An Bord Pleanala. At the time of writing, it seems all three are still awaiting a decision despite the expected decision date passing. Servecentric has also filed an appeal after seeing its requests for a new data center denied. However, a CyrusOne proposal in Dublin from last year was granted planning permission in November 2023.

Echelon has four Irish sites – DUB10 and DUB40 in Dublin’s Clondalkin and Grange Castle, and DUB20 and DUB30 in County Wicklow’s Arklow.

The company previously filed a legal challenge over South Dublin County’s decision to ban data center developments in its constituency, though the ban was reversed by the state.