Opponents of a €1.2 billion ($1.28bn) data center complex planned for County Clare, Ireland, will seek a judicial review to try and block the development.

Earlier this week An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s independent planning authority, upheld a decision to give the 200MW Art Data Centers campus in Ennis, County Clare, the green light, rejecting appeals lodged by environmental campaigners.

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The Ennis data center campus – Art Data Centres

However, the Clare Green Party says it will try and stop the data center from being built via a judicial review.

Speaking to Clare FM, Green Party senator Roisín Garvey said: “We don’t have the energy for this kind of data center. It’s way too big. It will not go ahead and should not go ahead.”

Garvey said grid operator EirGrid is making 80MW of additional power available for the whole of Ennis over the next 15 years, far less than is required by the data center campus.

She said: “Are we going to jeopardize all housing and other infrastructure needed for Ennis because certain people want to build a data center?

“We will be looking for a judicial review. I don’t know if this is what the people of Ennis need - if we’re building anything it should be houses.”

Art Data Centers, which originally gained planning permission for the data center campus in 2022, said it would utilize spare capacity in the grid and have access to wind and solar farms in Clare through the grid or private connections. It says the campus will create up to 450 permanent jobs, as well as 1,200 construction-related roles during the build process.

First proposed in 2019, the campus will comprise six data halls spread across more than 145 acres (1.3 million sq ft) of land on Tulla Road, outside Ennis. It has been mired in controversy since day one, with environmentalists describing it as a “climate disaster waiting to happen”.

After planning permission was initially granted in 2022, eight appeals were lodged against the decision. One of the appellants, Ireland’s national trust An Taisce, said the development would generate 657,000 tonnes of CO2 each year due to its high power requirements.

Not everyone in Ennis is opposed to the plan, with local councilor Clare Colleran-Molloy suggesting in an interview that Amazon Web Services (AWS) could be a potential tenant for the campus. She said: “I believe this is very important for our community and I dispute the assertion we don’t have capacity in the grid.

“The town of Ennis is currently using 10 percent of the capacity at the Ennis substation.”

Earlier this week it was reported that AWS is restricting the number of resources users can access in Ireland amid ongoing concerns about the amount of power consumed by the nation’s data centers.