June 13, 2023
Urgent action needed to tackle high electricity consumption by data centres – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate and Energy, Darren O’Rourke TD, says the government is not doing enough to get to grips with the significant pressure data centres are placing on Ireland’s electricity supply. 

Speaking on new figures released by the Central Statistics Office today, the Meath East TD said: 

“The figures are stark. Today we learned that data centres have increased their power consumption by an astounding 31%. This means that they now account for almost one fifth of all electricity consumed here. Just seven years ago, this figure stood at 5%. That is totally unsustainable.  

“To put this into context – overall energy consumption has risen by 20% over the past seven years whereas for data centres, consumption has risen by an eye-watering 400% in the same period. This cannot go on. 

“The pressure that data centres exert on our failing electricity grid is enormous and there are very real concerns about its continued ability to cope. For example, an amber alert has been issued today. This is a warning signal that indicates that the amount of electricity currently available is lower than it needs to be to meet demands. 

“The situation we find ourselves in is the inevitable outcome of years of reckless mismanagement of our energy system by successive governments. Runaway electricity demand accompanied by a failure to deliver much-needed supply. Have they already forgotten the serious threat of blackouts we faced last Winter?  

“The risk is present and real again this year. It is fast approaching. And yet the government continues to drag their feet.

“Ordinary workers and families are already facing considerable distress at the thought of being unable to afford their bills. Soon they will have to worry about the lights going out too.  

“The government should take notice of the fact that while large energy users have increased their consumption, households have managed to decrease their energy consumption over the past two years. 

“They cannot continue to expect ordinary workers and families to bear the brunt of all of the crises we find ourselves in – the climate crisis, the energy crisis and the cost of living crisis – while those who are actually doing the most damage continue to carry on business as usual. Enough is enough.

 “Sinn Féin is calling on the government to urgently address this situation before it is too late. Rather than the Wild West-like scenario we find ourselves in now, we need a plan that is sustainable, manageable and fair. Sinn Féin is ready to deliver that in government to ensure that our energy system is affordable, sustainable and secure.”

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