Republic of Ireland: In light of Ireland's inaction on data center expansion, Ireland's Labour Party calls for hault

Jun 19, 2023 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Following concern being raised over the dangers posed by continued data center expansion, Ireland’s Labour Party has joined the call to halt data center building and, instead, introduce a temporary surcharge.

Speaking about this, Labour leader and climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik, said that the Labour Party has “consistently” called for a moratorium on new data centers, until the analysis has been carried out to assess their impact 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,” she said. 

According to Bacik, Labour’s pre-Budget submission called for the introduction of a temporary surcharge levy on data centers too, as she said, to “claw back some of the environmental cost.” However, Bacik claims that this was ignored, and the government “refused” to entertain such a proposal. 

Bacik noted that this is concerning, considering the trend of data center growth, which “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,” she said. 

Bacik outlined that The Minister for Environment has already confirmed that an additional surcharge of €10 per MWh on data center electricity consumption within the State would raise nearly €40m. 

“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,” she concluded.