Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
69. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the engagement he or his Department has had with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with regard to the review of the Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53514/21]
The Climate Action Plan 2021 will bring forward policies and measures to support the delivery of the 51% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and put us on a pathway to climate neutrality no later than 2050. The Plan will include specific actions for large energy users, including data centres.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is committed to reviewing the 2018 'Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland's Enterprise Strategy' to align with our renewable energy targets, sectoral emissions and climate priorities.This is part of a suite of actions to ensure that Ireland is planning appropriately for new energy demand in the context of our electrification and decarbonisation ambitions, while facilitating growth in digitalisation and our technology sector. This review is expected to commence in 2022.
Government is working with the relevant state agencies to ensure that there is a plan-led, regionally balanced approach to large developments such as data centres in future taking into account existing grid availability and the opportunity to co-locate significant renewable energy opportunities.
70. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the review of data centre connection policy by the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53515/21]
In June 2021, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) published a proposed direction to EirGrid and ESB Networks that would require each of the system operators to prioritise data centre connections based on location, the availability of on-site generation and flexibility in reducing demand when required. The consultation process is now closed and the CRU is considering the responses received.
The CRU is an independent statutory body and solely accountable to a committee of the Oireachtas for the performance of its functions.