Sinn Féin Councillor Donna McGettigan has expressed disappointment that a promised data centre for Ennis has been given the go ahead.
Reacting to the news, Cllr McGettigan sadi: “The uncontrolled growth of data centres here over the past few years has also put enormous pressure on our generation capacity.
The last Government set a target of making Ireland the data centre capital of the world, with absolutely no thought about the impact this would have on our carbon emissions or electricity supply.”
“We now have 70 data centres in the state, which are using the same amount of electricity as all the homes in rural Ireland combined.
Sinn Féin previously called for a moratorium on the connection of new data centres until an energy security impact risk analysis has been carried out. But just this week Clare County Council granted approval for a new data centre in Ennis, which will use up as much electricity as 200,000 homes.
It’s incredible that this is continuing, while the threat of blackouts hangs over the population. Today Wednesday the 10th for a second day in a row we had another electricity Amber alert. The state faces the threat of electricity blackouts this coming winter due in large part to the strain data centres are putting on our electricity grid,” she added.
Cllr McGettigan continued: “A new Eirgrid Bill that underwent no pre-legislative scrutiny will permit EirGrid to procure €350 million worth of back up gas and diesel generators needed to ensure we keep the lights on. The Dáil heard in June that it will be households who will be saddled with the cost of this.
The Government must ensure this is not the case, especially considering that it is data centres who are causing the huge increase in demand, not the ordinary workers and families. We appreciate the need for data centres, some provide a vital service that keeps many of the digital aspects of our lives running. But it is clear the uncontrolled and ill-conceived Government policy which has encouraged the rampant expansion of data centres here, is now threatening the electricity supply to Irish households and businesses and that is simply unacceptable,” Cllr McGettigan added.