Thursday, 16 September 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Renewable Energy Generation
The Minister referenced the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation's 2018 strategy. My fear is we have two arms of Government that are pulling against each other when it comes to this policy. We have the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment that is promoting data centres from an economic perspective, despite the fact it does not collect any information on the number of jobs created by these data centres, and the Minister's Department, which obviously has obligations, as does the entire Government, to meet our climate and renewable energy targets.
The Minister has talked about changes that may happen and how geographical changes may be required and conditions put on data centres. The reality is that 30% of our electricity use will be data centres. It could potentially be 50% if the current applications are approved. These data centres are applying for permissions now, they will be conditioned now and there will be no retrospective ability to change their location or the conditions that are placed on them. Therefore, the risk is those data centres will impede our ability to meet our targets by 2030. Would the Minister agree with a moratorium on data centres until there is specific analysis done on that to show the exact impact?