A scheme to provide heating to homes and offices from an Amazon data centre in Tallaght has been announced by South Dublin County Council.

The council has set up Heatworks, the country's first publicly owned not-for-profit energy company, to provide low carbon heat from the data centre situated on the site of the old Jacob's Biscuits factory.

Amazon Web Service will pipe excess heat free of charge beginning with council offices and the Tallaght campus of the Technology University Dublin next year.

It will also supply commercial premises and housing developments beginning with 135 affordable apartment units.

The system will be installed and operated by the Finnish company Fortum and the costs to customers will be similar to gas heating.

However, a council spokesperson said that the recyclable heat in Tallaght will offer better value as carbon taxes increase.

Amazon Web Services do not disclose the Megawattage (MW) of their data centres but say that the district heating scheme will eventually reduce carbon emissions in Tallaght by 1,500 tonnes a year.

It is the fifth data centre for Tallaght and the fourth from Amazon.

Concern has been expressed at the number of data centres in Ireland with the Irish Academy of Engineering estimating that they will add at least 1.5 million tonnes to Ireland's carbon emissions by 2030.

Eirgrid has said that data centres could account for 29% of total electricity demand by 2028.