Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
24. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if consideration will be given to introducing environmental policy and guidelines in relation to data centres in conjunction and consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49170/21]
In June 2018, my Department published the Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Policy. The location of data centres in Ireland plays a significant role in Ireland’s technology sector, contributing to Ireland’s international reputation as a digital hub and as a high-quality investment location. Ireland has an extremely valuable Information Technology (IT) sector which accounts for €52 billion (16%) of gross value add in the Irish economy and employs 140,000 people, equivalent to 6% of total national employment and representing 40% growth over the last five years. Data centres are a critical infrastructure for strengthening and advancing Ireland’s position as a strategic international location for IT services and for developing both Ireland’s and Europe’s digital economies.
Since the publication of the Statement, there have been significant policy and market developments with implications for the data centre infrastructure in Ireland. My Department is committed to revising the Statement to reflect the new enterprise context, security of energy supply issues and align it with our renewable energy targets and priorities, in the forthcoming Climate Action Plan 2021.
The revision to the statement will take account of several key related workstreams underway in the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications for which the output is due shortly. These include the publication of Eirgrid’s ‘Shaping our Electricity Future’analysis and strategic approach to grid development; the SEAI-led work on a policy framework for Corporate Power Purchase Agreements and the policy interventions that can be brought forward; publication of Climate Action Plan 2021, which will set out the measures to move toward a decarbonised energy system and the final system design in 2030 which will inform how data centres can best adapt and contribute to decarbonisation; and the publication of the review of wider Security of Supply issues in the electricity sector.
My Department will work closely with the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications on the revision to the Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Policy.