Halt on data centre development needed

Ivana Bacik TD
13 June 2023
  • Labour proposes surcharge levy to claw back environmental cost

Labour leader and climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik has called on Government to introduce a temporary surcharge on data centres to counteract the drain these centres cause on the environment.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Labour has consistently called for a moratorium or a pause on new data centres until an analysis is carried out into the impact of these centres on infrastructure.

“The CSO shows a 400% increase in the energy consumption of data centres. We need to understand the full impact this is having across our electricity infrastructure.

“In Labour’s pre-Budget submission last September, we called for the introduction of a temporary surcharge levy on data centres to claw back some of the environmental cost. Yet, as usual, 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.

“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. It’s unsustainable.

“This is putting a massive and unsustainable strain on the State’s energy grid, electricity prices and our climate emissions. The Minister for Environment has confirmed that an additional surcharge of €10 per MWh on data centre electricity consumption within the State would raise nearly €40m (based on 2021 figures). In all reality, the revenue generated would be even higher based on this year’s figures.

“We 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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