Data center moratorium on the horizon for Ireland?

Sep 28, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

The Irish Social Democrat Party has announced that it is calling for a moratorium on new data centres in Ireland in response to grid constraints and sustainability concerns. This proposed moratorium would be an "interim measure" that would allow the government to fully grasp how many data centers can be sustainably built and maintained.

This response, of course, follows the recent data center boom in the country and accompanying projections that data centers will be using at least 29% of the country's electricity in the next seven years. As a result, the People Before Profit Party proposed a complete ban on the continued construction of facilities back in June.
 
Jennifer Whitmore, TD for Wicklow and the Social Democrat's Climate, Environment & Biodiversity spokesperson

In a tweet, the Social Democrats said: "The surge in data centers risks so much – our energy security, investment, jobs, and climate action targets. Yet, the Government has not done a cost-benefit analysis. On Wednesday, we are introducing a Dáil motion calling for a moratorium on DCs."

Meanwhile, Jennifer Whitmore, TD for Wicklow and the Social Democrat's Climate, Environment & Biodiversity spokesperson, likened the situation to a "runaway horse" and argued the government "does not have a grasp on exactly what that means for Ireland and our infrastructure." She added: "The government is essentially signing blank cheques for energy demand that we may not be able to fill."

EirGrid will soon release a report warning just how tight the country's electricity system is being stretched, with technical engineers even undergoing specific training to "manage potential blackout scenarios" this winter. This reveals the very real sense of urgency that is required on the part of the government. 

Ireland would not be the first to introduce such a moratorium. Singapore, Amsterdam and Frankfurt have also introduced the same measures. 

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