Thursday, 16 September 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Renewable Energy Generation
I do not believe we will have 50% of our power going to data centres. I do not believe the attention going to this one issue, and it is one we have to manage, is reflecting the real challenge.
One of the challenges at present is that we need new backup generation to help manage not just data centres but also our use of electricity for transport, heat and a range of different areas. We have 2 GW of old conventional plant that we need to switch off in the next five years. We need to replace this with balancing capability plant that will help us run this renewable-dominated system. That is one of the biggest and most immediate challenges. There are also other demand issues. How do we power our fleet of electric vehicles, EVs? That is more of a grid management issue on the distribution side but balancing that is also a significant issue, as are district heating and a range of other demand issues. The data centre sector is one which must be fitted in but it is a complex problem and challenge. The biggest immediate issue is the question of how to get flexible backup generation not only to power data centres but to manage and power the whole system. The question of data centres will be easier to manage than that issue in the coming years.