New data centres banned for next six years
Grange Castle Business Park is home to 23 data centres

New data centres banned for next six years

A BAN has been placed on new data centres in South Dublin County for the duration of the upcoming County Development Plan, which will run for a period of six years, from 2022 to 2028.

According to a Bitpower Energy Solutions report in May 2021, South Dublin County has 34 operational data centres, the majority of which (23) are located in Grange Castle and Profile Park.

A further 11 are operational within Citywest/Parkwest/Tallaght.

The report listed another three under construction, 12 approved for planning, and another four were in the planning stage.

Major multinational companies, like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon, have invested in substantial data centre infrastructure in Dublin.

However, the proliferation of data centres in the county has been a point of concern in recent years, particularly in terms of the pressure they place on the national electricity grid.

It is estimated that 10 per cent of Ireland’s electricity use is currently consumed by data centres and this is expected to increase to 25-30 per cent by 2030.

EirGrid – the State-owned electric power transmission operator – raised concerns in late 2021 and initially announced a moratorium on connecting data centres to the national grid.

The move was then reversed following lobbying by the IDA and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

At a recent County Development Plan meeting, People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson submitted an amendment to ban new data centres in the county.

Cllr Johansson said: “There is real concern in the local area about the pressure on the electricity grid from data centres.

“It is also clear from EirGrid’s initial statement in late 2021 that the grid in Dublin is struggling to cope.

“In addition to the large amount of energy used by data centres, they also consume large amounts of water, again adding pressure on the capacity of water services in South Dublin where we are also seeing large new housing developments.

“There are more beneficial uses for land in Dublin, including more employment-heavy industries or offices.

“Another reason for banning any new data centres is the effect these centres have on the environment because of their large energy and water consumption.

“I am delighted that councillors have gone beyond nice words and empty promises and actually taken the radical action that is necessary to protect our planet.”

The amendment was passed by South Dublin County councillors, with 18 votes in favour, 13 against and one abstention.

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