Data centres accounted for almost a fifth of all electricity used in the Republic of Ireland in 2022, official data suggests.
That was as much as was used by all households in the country’s urban areas.
Data centres are effectively warehouses full of computer servers which are central to the operations of online businesses.
They need a large and constant supply of electricity to operate and cool the servers.
Companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft have significant data centres in Ireland with more planned.
Figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the centres accounted for more than 5,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of usage in 2022, out of total metered consumption of 29,500 GWh.
400% rise since 2015
Niamh Shanahan, statistician in the environment and climate division of the CSO, said consumption by data centres increased by 31% between 2021 and 2022 which was a combination of existing data centres using more electricity and new centres being added to the grid.
The amount of electricity being used by data centres in Ireland has risen by 400% since 2015.
In 2021 Ireland’s energy regulator published new rules for connecting data centres to the electricity grid.
Future connections will depend on location, the ability to use back-up generators and the ability to reduce power consumption when requested.
The regulator said it was hoped the guidance would mitigate the risks to the electricity networks and “provide clarity” for future and existing connection applications.
The regulator added that without a new policy, there would likely be “a situation where demand would outstrip available supply at the peak and would result in load shedding and consumers facing rolling blackouts”.
Source : BBC