Electricity that is used by data centres within Republic of Ireland has risen by 400% since 2015, with official data confirming that data centres use almost a fifth of the nation's electricity.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office highlight that data centres account for more than 5,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of usage in 2022, out of a total metered consumption of 29,500 GWh. Large multinational companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft are part of those who have data centres in the Republic of Ireland, with more expected to be built in the near future.
Demand may outstrip available supply
The country is a popular destination for data companies in part due to its low corporation tax of 12.5%, a highly skilled workforce and access to the EU single market. This has ultimately led to a high number of data centres being built, despite straining its electricity service.
The issue does not seem to be with the data centres itself, but rather that the Republic of Ireland does not currently have enough electricity to keep up with the continuing rising demand.
More than 75 data centres operate in the country, mostly in the Greater Dublin Area, with eight under construction and 30 currently being planned.
The Republic of Ireland’s national usage is continuing to grow during a time where the country is already struggling to meet its climate targets. The country has previously stated that it wants to be using 80% renewable energy by 2030, in efforts to deliver a “cleaner, greener, connected Ireland.”
According to Euro News, Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore stated that the Irish government is turning a blind eye to a surge in energy consumption by data centres.
“Data centres put pressure on our national grid, make it more difficult to reach our climate action targets and can lead to rising energy prices. The need for strategic oversight and management of data centres by the government could not be clearer,” she said.
The Irish Times have reported that The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) have decided that new applications for data centres to use EirGrid (The Republic of Ireland’s state-owned electric power transmission operator) should be assessed based on conditions, including: proposed location, the ability to have their own on-site electricity supply equal or greater to their demand and the ability to be flexible in demand by reducing consumption from the grid in times of constraint.
No new data centre connections have been approved by Eirgrid since July 2020.