AWS data centre to heat South Dublin homes, retail and offices

South Dublin CoCo, AWS and Fortum eNext create Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company
Mike Beary, AWS, with Eddie Conroy and Daniel McLoughlin of South Dublin County Council

14 December 2020

South Dublin County Council (SDCC) has established Ireland’s first publicly owned, not-for-profit energy company in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Fortum eNext, to provide low carbon heat to local community buildings.

Trading as Heatworks, the company will deliver the Tallaght District Heating Network which is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the South Dublin County area by nearly 1,500 tonnes per year once completed.

The network will use excess heat from a customisation to AWS’ recently completed data centre to provide low carbon heat to public sector, residential and commercial customers. AWS will provide recycled heat free of charge to the scheme as part of its broader sustainability activities, and its continued assistance to Ireland in meeting its EU 2030 national heating and carbon-reduction targets.




Fortum eNext, a Finnish energy supply company, has been contracted to carry out the design, installation, and operation of the Tallaght network.  

The system will initially heat 47,000m2 of public sector buildings, 3,000m2 of commercial space, and 135 affordable rental apartments.

Supply of low-cost, low-carbon heat is expected to increase commercial competitiveness, attracting more innovative businesses and development to Tallaght town centre, facilitate educational programmes and start-up opportunities in renewable energy solutions, as well as helping to mitigate fuel poverty as the heat network expands over time.

The Tallaght District Heating Network is partly funded by the European Union’s Inter-Reg NWE programme (Heatnet), a multi-million-euro fund promoting carbon reduction through district-heating in Europe’s north-west, by a further €4.5 million from the Project Ireland 2040 Climate Action Fund and through direct funding from SDCC.

The collaboration between SDCC, AWS engineering teams, Fortum eNext, and the City of Dublin Energy Management Agency has resulted in a low-carbon solution optimising the potential of recyclable heat combined with additional heat-pump technology – the first example of its kind in Ireland.

The project will begin supplying heat before the end of 2021, with initial customers being SDCC and the nearby Tallaght campus of the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin). The council buildings heated by this project in the short term will include SDCC’s County Hall and Tallaght County Library followed by the Rua Red arts hub and Civic Theatre.

By 2024, the heat will also be supplied to nearby developments recently approved with planning permission, including affordable housing units, residential properties, and student accommodation.

“The Tallaght district heating network shows how public-private collaboration using well-established district-heating technology can construct a system to recycle heat from an Amazon Web Services data centre to meaningfully contribute to helping Ireland achieve its 2030 sustainability targets,” said Daniel McLoughlin, chief executive of SDCC.

“We believe the work we have done with Fortum eNext and Amazon Web Services to create this scheme can become a template for other districts across Ireland. We look forward to future collaborations as South Dublin County moves towards a low-carbon future.”

TechCentral Reporters

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