Irish government release statement on data centre strategy

Ireland

The Irish government has released a statement outlining their strategy concerning data centre development in the country, alongside a set of national principles that should inform and guide decisions on future data centre development.

According to the statement, their aim is to “seek to enable the ’twin transitions’ of digitalisation and decarbonisation of our economy and society”. These transitions must be complementary, and, for this to happen, digital and climate change policies need to move in tandem.

Data centres are core digital infrastructure and play an indispensable role in our economy and society. They provide the foundation for all almost all online aspects of our social and work lives, including video calling, messaging and apps, retail, banking, travel, media, and public service delivery such as healthcare and welfare.

However, the Irish government says that in the short term, there is only limited capacity for further data centre development, as the key state bodies, regulators and the electricity sector work to upgrade their infrastructure, connect more renewable energy and ensure security of supply. The capacity that will be available will be in regional locations and must assist in national ambitions to deliver an efficient, low-carbon energy system. By addressing these capacity constraints now, they say that they can build the longer-term foundations for a net-zero-ready economy and society that will be a competitive and attractive hub for decarbonised digital services, enabling the industries and services of the future.

Capacity constraints experienced by their electricity system today, and the binding carbon budgets that require rapid decarbonisation of energy use across all sectors, necessarily mean that not all existing demand for data centre development can be accommodated. Therefore, a new set of preferences have also been outlined to inform and guide future data centre development. This includes consideration of economic impact, grid capacity and efficiency, renewables additionality, colocation or proximity with future-proof energy supplies, decarbonised data centres by design, and SME access and community benefits.

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