Data Centers to devour one-third of Ireland’s electricity by 2026?

Comments by Mark Yeeles, Vice President, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric, UK & Ireland

In a recent revelation by the International Energy Agency (IEA), a concerning statistic has surfaced, projecting that data centers could account for a staggering 32% of Ireland’s total electricity consumption by the year 2026.

Mark Yeeles, Vice President of the Secure Power Division at Schneider Electric in the UK & Ireland, provides insightful commentary on this pressing matter.

Yeeles acknowledges that, currently, the general consumption of our data and digital habits – social media, email, businesses applications, streaming, gaming, scientific research, and enterprise – combined with the adoption of AI platforms, is compounding global data centre growth at a phenomenal rate. 

Another recent study further amplifies the concern: predicting that AI could be on track to consume as much electricity as the entire country of Ireland (29.3 terawatt-hours per year), which is equally as troubling. 

Yeeles contends that the misunderstanding of data centres’ role in the business, consumer and economic landscape, the services they enable, the value they add, and the industry’s position as critical infrastructure – that which all of us depend on each day – is widely misunderstood, and it’s clear we’re at a turning point for the sector. 

However, Yeeles emphasizes that data centres provide one of the key solutions to solve the energy and climate challenges, and many operators locally are moving towards a prosumer model – helping to generate as much or more energy than they consume, and thereby reducing their demand on the grid.

To surmount Ireland’s energy and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) challenges, Yeeles advocates for immediate and sustainable action. He calls for the government and industry to collaborate more closely, and combine existing technologies with innovative engineering to future proof the country’s energy, economic, and technological outlook. 

“Ultimately, we must ask the question, can we live without data centres? The answer is no.”

He says: “Our lives are completely dependent on the digital services they enable. That does not mean, however, that we cannot make sure the industry serves business and consumer demand with sustainability front of mind, and at Schneider Electric we believe that approach is vital. 

As we look forwards, renewables and digitalisation are two of the key vectors to solve the climate and energy challenges, and by integrating data centre infrastructure with the grid, and using the industry as a catalyst for sustainable change, we can accelerate the production and adoption of green renewable power, and solve Ireland’s energy challenges simultaneously.”

Partner Resources

Popular Right Now

Edgecore Insight Podcast

Ep-1: Navigating the Waters of Sustainability

Others have also read ...