We are still awaiting the government’s updated policy statement on data centres – which has not been revised since 2018
The surge in energy consumption by data centres underscores the government’s ‘see-no-evil, hear-no-evil’ approach to the climate emergency, according to Social Democrats Energy Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.
“The country has been convulsed in recent weeks by attempts to ban turf sales by the government. Meanwhile, the CSO informs us today that data centres are consuming more electricity in Ireland than every single rural dwelling combined.
“This stark statistic highlights a central problem of the government’s “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil’ efforts to reduce our carbon emissions. All of the responsibility to reduce emissions is put on the individual, while the State continues to facilitate and incentivise energy-guzzling industries.
“In the Dáil last year, the Social Democrats attempted to secure a moratorium on the construction of new data centres. The government voted against this motion and rubbished the notion a moratorium was required. Subsequently, a de facto moratorium in Dublin was put in place by Eirgrid because of the precarious nature of our energy supply.
“Electricity consumption by data centres is currently at 14pc – having jumped by one-third in 2021 alone – and could rise to 30pc of overall consumption by 2030. This mushrooming of data centres has taken place without any significant investment in upgrading our energy grid and without any preconditions that data centres must use renewable energy or incorporate district heating.
“How can the government claim to be serious about efforts to reduce our carbon emissions, and achieve our climate action goals, when it has adopted a strictly hands-off approach to data centres?”
“Meanwhile, we are still awaiting the government’s updated policy statement on data centres – which has not been revised since 2018. Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar promised to prepare a revised policy document in September 2021.”
3 May, 2022