Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Government policy relating to data centres is primarily a matter for the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and any review would be a matter for him. The Government statement on the role of data centres in Ireland's enterprise strategy of 2018 recognises that a plan-led approach is needed to develop a range of measures to promote regional options for data centre investment, minimising the need for additional electricity grid infrastructure.
Data centre-related electricity demand in Ireland continues to grow. EirGrid, in its Generation Capacity Statement 2020-2029, projects that demand from data centres could account for 27% of all demand by 2029, up from 11% in 2020. Significant increases in volumes of generation capacity, including from renewable energy sources, will be required to meet data centre demand and deliver on Ireland’s climate objectives. Under the Climate Action Plan 2019, Ireland has adopted a target of at least 70% renewable electricity production by 2030. This will contribute to meeting the Government target of reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 and meeting the long-term target of climate neutrality by 2050. The plan sets out a number of actions to ensure that data centres are accommodated in a sustainable manner, including implementing flexible demand and other innovative solutions for data centres. This has been implemented by EirGrid for new data centres seeking to connect in Dublin.
EirGrid has this week launched a public consultation on "Shaping our Electricity Future". The aim is to make the electricity grid stronger and more flexible so it can carry significantly more renewable generation as well as meet increasing demand from high-volume energy users such as data centres.