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Speed brief on Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres

  • Ireland
  • Data centers


The Government has published a Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy (found here). It outlines the expectations for new Data Centre projects in the short to medium term as the Government battles to facilitate the ‘twin transitions’ of digitalisation and decarbonisation.

The Statement notes the Government understanding that the speed and scale of digitalisation in Ireland is going to challenge the country’s existing infrastructure. There are immediate challenges facing Ireland, such as grid constraints and binding carbon reduction targets. To minimise the effects of these challenges, there will be a limited capacity for Data Centre developments in the near future.

To determine which Data Centre projects will be enabled going forward, the Government has set out six principles which will “inform and guide” the relevant decision making authorities. The principles are as follows:

Economic Impact. The Government expects that future Data Centres will be located in regional areas that will benefit most from the investment through employment and other spillover effects.

Grid Capacity and Efficiency. In line with CRU Direction to Systems Operators (found here), future Data Centres will be expected to make the most efficient use of the grid by cooperating with system operators to understand issues such as grid capacity at different times and where grid connections can best be facilitated.

Renewables Additionality. Future Data Centres will be expected to not only generate renewable electricity to sustain themselves but also aim to provide renewable electricity to the surrounding community through new generation, repowering, or otherwise.

Co-Location or Proximity with Future-Proof Energy Supply. Future Data Centres will be expected to locate in proximity to or co-locate with a renewable energy generation source or advanced storage which can be supported by corporate power purchase agreements (CPPA) or private wire. Additionally, Data Centres are expected to be able to facilitate downstream activities such as the use of excess heat and carbon.

Decarbonised Data Centres by Design. The EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact is expected to be central to any future Data Centre developments. This will result in Data Centres being developed with the goal of decarbonisation and ultimately reaching net zero status.

SME Access and Community Benefits. Through the construction phase and the life-cycle of future Data Centres, it is expected that the Data Centre operator will engage and collaborate with the community by offering employment, place-making and other investments such as offering low-cost heating through its bi-product of heat generated from activities.

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