The government has published a revised statement on the role of data centres in Ireland’s enterprise strategy.

Data is an essential enabler of our increasingly digital economy and society facilitating everything from remote working, on-line learning and e-health to on-line retail, food service delivery, banking, and payments. 

However, we must align the twin transitions which are both digital and green. While data centres account for a little less than 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions, they are responsible for about 14% of Irish electricity use.

Recognising the significant capacity constraints on the electricity system in the short-to-medium term, and the need for decarbonisation of our energy system, the revised Statement adopts a set of principles to harness the economic and societal benefits that data centres bring, facilitating sustainable data centre development that adheres to our energy and enterprise policy objectives.

Agreed principles

  • Economic impact: The government has a preference for data centre developments associated with strong economic activity and employment.
  • Grid capacity and efficiency: The government has a preference for data centre developments that make efficient use of our electricity grid, using available capacity and alleviating constraints.
  • Renewables additionality: The government has a preference for data centre developments that can demonstrate the additionality of their renewable energy use in Ireland.
  • Co-location or proximity with future-proof energy supply: The government has a preference for data centre developments in locations where there is the potential to co-locate a renewable generation facility or advanced storage with the data centre, supported by a CPPA, private wire or other arrangement.
  • Decarbonised data centres by design: The government has a preference for data centres developments that can demonstrate a clear pathway to decarbonise and ultimately provide net zero data services
  • SME access and community benefits: The government has a preference for data centre developments that provide opportunities for community engagement and assist SMEs, both at the construction phase and throughout the data centre lifecycle.

Data centre developments which are not consistent with these principles would not be in line with government policy.

Today’s publication fulfils commitments under the 2021 Climate Action Plan and the 2022 National Energy Security Framework. This revised statement updates the original government statement on data centres, which was published in July 2018.

Full document can be accessed here: Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland’s Enterprise Strategy