Republic of Ireland: Irish government seeks to edge out data centers that use only natural gas

Oct 25, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

According to RTE reports, the Irish government is trying to phase out data centers that are powered exclusively by natural gas, by closing a loophole. Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan, as per a letter, released to RTÉ News under Freedom of Information, instructed Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) that: “It would not be appropriate for Gas Networks Ireland to sign any more contracts to connect data centers to the gas network where the data center would be powered mainly by on-site fossil fuel generation.”

There a reportedly a number of data center in the country which currently run on natural gas, with more being considered, however, this could circumvent the State's prohibition on fossil fuel-dependent data centers. Yet, the ministers new instruction to prevent GNI from supplying power to natural gas-powered data centers could reportedly require a change in legislation, something which is being encouraged by the likes of Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, who has called on Minister Ryan to bring forward emergency legislation “without delay”.

In a statement to RTE, Ryan said: "I was concerned there could be further gas connections. I said we have to stop here and we have to say anything we do has to meet our climate targets and meets or energy security needs. I wanted make sure Gas Networks Ireland also knows that."

Meanwhile, GNI released a statement that said: “We are assessing the Government's paper to establish the basis on which we implement the recommendations. Gas Networks Ireland offers third-party access to the national gas network in line with directions set by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) in accordance with the Gas Act."