AWS invests billions in Ireland over a decade of rapid growth

Mike Beary, country manager, AWS, looks at a decade of huge investment in Ireland
AWS invests billions in Ireland over a decade of rapid growth

Mike Beary, Amazon Web Services, with Eddie Conroy, County Architect and Daniel McLoughlin, Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council.

For over a decade, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been investing and growing in Ireland. We launched our first cloud infrastructure region outside of the US in Ireland in 2007, and since this time, we’ve grown the number of our staff, expanded our collaboration with colleges and universities, invested in skills programmes, and strengthened our relationships with local communities across the country.

Mike Beary, country manager, AWS Ireland.
Mike Beary, country manager, AWS Ireland.

This sustained investment demonstrates our deep commitment to Ireland and has delivered a positive impact across key areas for Ireland’s economy and society. And we want to do more.

To better understand how AWS is contributing to the wider Irish economy, Indecon International Economic Consultants (Indecon), a leading firm of independent economists, conducted an evidence-based study of AWS’s investments in Ireland during the period 2011-2020.

The study sets out the positive impact the company has made in three broad areas: jobs and growth, strengthening the local supplier network, and increasing export opportunities for Irish contractors.

Generating more jobs and growth in Ireland 

Looking at the numbers, Indecon found that AWS investments in Ireland support over 8,700 jobs across the Irish economy and generates an estimated economic growth of €1.45 billion a year. These jobs include over 3,000 of our own employees, nearly 4,000 people working for contractors and sub-suppliers and also more than 1,700 people in jobs induced by these activities.

According to IDA Ireland, AWS ranked third among the largest job creators in their client base in 2019 and we have been in the top ten each year since 2015. The IDA has recognised that cloud-enabled digital services are now pervading every industry and Ireland’s reputation in this space is enabling further investment.

Our operations in Ireland have resulted in an expanded economic output in the period 2011-2020 of almost €7.5 billion. In fact, AWS generated growth of an estimated €1.45 billion in 2020 alone and we expect to exceed €1.5 billion each year in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

This is all well and good, but what the study demonstrated clearly was that the benefits of this investment go far beyond job creation and economic growth.

Strengthening the Irish supplier network 

It has been incredible to watch Irish suppliers and sub suppliers across the economy including major construction contractors, mechanical and electrical suppliers, professional services and a wide range of services provided by local businesses, grow alongside AWS over the last decade to become industry leaders in their fields. Companies like Collen Construction, Dannan Air, and Hanley Energy are great examples.

Meath-based Hanley Energy worked with AWS to develop a prototype which was adopted in AWS data centers worldwide and is now a specialist systems provider offering highly sought-after technology and expertise the world over. It has grown from a small electrical engineering firm with three employees in Ireland in 2009, to a business with 260 people with offices in North America, South Africa and Australia.

Indecon also found that AWS had helped to enhance skills among our sub suppliers, especially in areas such as engineering and electronics. They also noted a positive impact on increasing knowledge transfer, underscoring the wider way in which the operation of Irish data centres can help to raise skills in associated sectors, upskill Ireland’s workforce and maintain its reputation as a global leader in digital services.

Creating increased export opportunities for expert Irish suppliers

The experience and knowledge Irish businesses have gained in supporting the development of AWS data centres has enhanced the reputation of these suppliers in overseas markets. In the past five years) the value of contracts won by Irish firms in the construction and development of AWS data centres outside of Ireland has increased 14-fold from €16 million in 2015 to an estimated €228 million in 2020. Irish companies, like Collen Construction, are now exporting their expertise to AWS and other data centre operators in 20 countries including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands in Europe, in addition to projects further afield in the USA, Japan, India and Australia.

Supporting Irish startups

We are also helping Irish organisations including high potential start-ups to lower costs, become more agile and innovate faster through the cloud. Last year we teamed up with Enterprise Ireland to provide entrepreneurs and early stage companies access to a range of resources, benefits and technologies to help them innovate and grow. Since the collaboration launched in January 2020, Enterprise Ireland start-ups have availed of €5.4 million in AWS credits through the AWS Activate programme to launch and grow their businesses.

We’re proud to work with Irish start-ups such as Intercom and Swrve, who have grown rapidly in recent years; to help telehealth company MyClinic365 to adapt to the pandemic, to provide cloud services to household names such a Ryanair, Bank of Ireland and Netflix, as well as not-for-profits, universities, and government agencies such as Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) and the European Commission.

Doing more 

We are deeply committed to Ireland and we want to do more to ensure we continue to make a positive impact on Irish society and economy. In 2019 we became the first company to sign an unsubsidised corporate power purchase agreement (CPPA) in the country and have since signed another two CPPAs. These three projects are projected to add 229 MW of renewable energy to the Irish grid each year, reducing carbon emissions by 366,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, and producing enough renewable energy to power 185,000 Irish homes, per annum. We’re also supporting South Dublin County Council with Ireland’s first custom-built sustainable solution to provide heat recycled from an AWS data centre to public sector, residential, and commercial residents in Tallaght.

We’re delighted to see the positive impact our investment has made on the Irish economy. This is just the start, and we’re looking forward to continuing to strengthen and support Irish businesses both domestically and in their work abroad.

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