Further calls for Government to put halt on construction of new data centresGary Ibbotson 06 Sep 2022
The Government has come under further pressure to place a moratorium on the construction of more data centres following reports that the national electricity grid is becoming increasingly strained.
Official figures released by Eirgrid show that data centres accounted for 14 percent of all electricity demand in the country last year, up from five percent on 2020.
The state-owned company, which controls the flow of power on the national grid, also estimates that data centres could account for 29 percent of electricity use by 2028.
People Before Profit TD for Dublin South-West Bríd Smith said the threat of blackouts this winter should be the warning the Government needs to put a halt to the development of new data centres.
“The most urgent task this state has now is ensuring the power needs of ordinary people are met this winter,” she said.
“There is a concentrated effort to muddy the water about causes and who is to blame but the elephant in the room is the blind insistence of government Ministers to continue facilitating more and more data centre connections- it must stop.”
The TD said that eight new data centres are planned to be connected to the national grid in the coming years, adding another 1.5 GW of demand, more than three times the proposed emergency generation plant that the government has ordered.
“It is utter lunacy to pretend we can continue with the current data centre policy and the big fear is this crisis has been used to drive the expansion of more fossil fuel infrastructure like the proposed LNGs- a policy which will simply lock us into continued dependence on fossil gas at a time of worsening climate chaos.”
Earlier this month, Minister for Planning Peter Burke ordered South Dublin County Council to reverse its ban on the development of new data centres in the county.
Minister Burke told chief executive of the council Danny McLoughlin that the decision by councillors to vote to include a moratorium on data centres in the upcoming county development plan was in breach of national and regional planning strategy.
There are currently more 30 data centres operating in south Dublin with many councillors voicing their concern about the pressure their growth was having on the electricity grid.