Irish committee hear about the significant grid impact of data centers

Sep 28, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Irish data centers are back under the microscope at the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Climate Change. According to the Irish Times, Dr Patrick Bresnihan of National University of Ireland, Maynooth, will be bringing forward some concerning figures. 

Bresnihan will put to the committee that data centers currently use 11% of grid capacity, but this will rise to 30% of overall capacity by 2030. Moreover, if the additional proposals for new facilities are given the go-ahead, this will put significant pressure on the grid and account for 70% of the national grid's capacity.

He will also point out that while there are pledges to achieve a more sustainable future whereby 70% of energy will be sourced through renewables by 2030, current data center proposals risk jeopardizing this future.

Moreover, Bresnihan will highlight that the average data centre consumes as much electricity as a small city, like Kilkenny. Of course, this doesn't account for water usage. Data centers guzzle around 500,000 litres per day.

Further to this, he outlines: ​​"From these figures it is evident that Ireland shoulders more than a fair share of the energy and water burden of global digital activities… In a context where households are facing increased energy bills and carbon taxes, the continued granting of planning permission to energy-intensive data centres is already being perceived as unfair."

Moreover, Bresnihan will outline that green hydrogen must be deployed at a "useful scale."

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