Jennifer Whitmore TD

The Government must put a pause on data centres until a strategic analysis of their impact on energy demand is carried out, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on energy, said:

“A briefing document provided to new Enterprise Minister Peter Burke reveals that the State’s renewable energy availability will be insufficient to meet all data centre demands between now and 2030. It warns there is a need to ration electricity connections for these facilities, which account for almost a fifth of Ireland’s energy use.

“CSO figures published last year showed that energy consumption by data centres increased by 31 per cent between 2021 and 2022 and represented 18 per cent of all metered electricity – the same percentage as all urban dwellings.

“As high demand can be a key driver of prices, data centres can lead to increased energy costs. They also put pressure on the grid, making it more difficult to achieve our climate targets.

“Minister Eamon Ryan is said to favour a moratorium on data centres that do not have their own carbon-neutral sources of energy. In light of the latest information on energy use by data centres, the new Enterprise Minister must clarify if he is now open to a change of Government policy on this issue.”

May 14, 2024

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