Labour calls for immediate pause on data centres connections

Ivana Bacik TD
27 January 2023

Labour leader and climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik has reiterated her call to government to pause all new data centre connections to the grid until an impact assessment is carried out.

Deputy Bacik said major, necessary investment in the grid is required due to a lack of long-term energy planning.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Government Ministers have continued to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to questions over Ireland’s long-term energy planning. As we see the lodgement of planning applications for additional data centres, I am reiterating Labour’s call to pause any new connections to the grid until there is a full review of the impact these centres are having on the future of Ireland’s energy supply.

“In Labour’s alternative budget, we proposed a €10/MwH surcharge levy on data centre energy use which would bring in an additional €40 million to the exchequer to build and invest in Ireland’s renewable energy capacity. Yet the Government refused to even entertain such reasonable proposals. That is not acceptable. We know that the electricity consumption of data centres has increased exponentially in recent years.

“The electricity demand by these centres increased by one third last year alone and has almost tripled since 2015. This is unsustainable. This trend shows no sign of abating. More than half (62%) of the country’s expected increase in electricity demand between 2021-2025 is set to come from extra-large energy users such as data centres.

“Ireland already has some of the highest energy prices in the EU, with the growth in data centres more than partly responsible. Not only are these centres’ siphoning off new renewable energy capacity that comes on stream, but their insatiable demand is also pushing up prices for ordinary households. More broadly, we also need to re-evaluate the State’s existing “open-door” strategy towards data centres especially given these centres are light on jobs, but heavy on environmental impacts.”

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