Wednesday, 10 March 2021
Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
First, people should be aware that there is an astonishing growth in the number of data centres in the State. There are currently approximately 54, mainly based around Dublin. Another ten are under construction and planning permission has been granted for another 31. Although the argument the Government makes is that they will have their own renewable energy, that means that by 2030 half of the total renewable energy produced in this country will be gobbled up by data centres. In anybody's book, that does not make ecological or environmental sense and is not sustainable.
There is also the issue of water. We cannot regenerate water, but these data centres use a vast quantity of it. The question of water as a public resource has been at the heart of politics in this country. The Minister should, in the first instance, begin to examine the planning legislation, which allows data centres a special place as part of strategic infrastructure and fast-tracks planning permission for them. This is getting out of control.