Bacik calls for pause on data centres due to energy usage concerns

Ms Bacik said that data centres were a real concern when it came to the issue of energy supply and use.
Bacik calls for pause on data centres due to energy usage concerns

Vivienne Clarke

Labour party leader Ivana Bacik has called for a pause in the development of data centres and is also calling for measures making data centres self sustainable when it comes to energy usage.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s News at One, Ms Bacik said that data centres were a real concern when it came to the issue of energy supply and use. The Opposition was united in the call for a pause of data centres given the high proportion of energy they use, she said.

Official figures show data centres accounted for 14 per cent of all electricity demand in the Republic last year, up from 5 per cent, with Eirgrid estimating they could account for 29 per cent by 2028.

That had to be addressed, she said.

Price caps for energy should be considered by the Consumer Protection Regulator, said Ms Bacik. Other measures that should be considered were increased fuel allowances and a windfall tax on the profits of the energy companies. This had been done in the UK with great success, she said.

The Government needed to move “far more” swiftly to address rising energy costs.

This follows a decision by Dublin City Council to approve an application by Amazon for permission to construct two new data centres in North Dublin.

The Social Democrats called for a moratorium on data centres until their impact on the national electrical grid and the price of electricity can be determined.

Jennifer Whitmore, the party's spokesperson on climate said the IDA had already expressed concern about energy security.

Earlier this month, EirGrid, issued an amber alert stating it was due to a “generation shortfall in Ireland”.

The alert is issued when there is a threat to the supply of electricity.

Members of South Dublin County Council are currently locked in a row with the planning regulator after they imposed an effective ban on all future developments of new data centres in its administrative area.

Earlier this year, Eirgrid said it would not be providing any new grid connections for data centres in the Dublin region until 2028 due to capacity constraints.

However, the Commission of Regulation of Utilities ruled out a moratorium on new data centres saying the location of future facilities and their ability to generate their own power supplies would need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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