The Climate Action Plan 2019 references Data Centres (DCs) in different contexts.
These are as follows:
Section 7: Electricity
A central focus of the Climate Action Plan is to decarbonise the electricity currently consumed in Ireland, by harnessing significant renewable energy resources. The energy resources required by DCs must be identified and addressed.
7.1: State of Play
By 2027, it is estimated that DCs will account for as much as 31% of Ireland's electricity needs. Accordingly, the Climate Action Plan 2019 recognises the importance of renewable, as opposed to fossil fuel, generation capacity to help meet this demand.
The Government has outlined specific actions to be taken which will ensure that targets as set out in the Climate Action Plan are achieved. Looking to electricity, Action 20 provides that the Government will implement energy actions under the Government Statement on the Role of Data Centres in Ireland's Enterprise Strategy. This will ensure that large demand connections are regionally balanced to minimise the need for grid reinforcements.
To achieve this action, the Annex of Actions outlines the specific steps that must be taken, which include:
- Develop and implement flexible demand and other innovative solutions for DCs; and
- Develop longer term measures to facilitate DCs and minimise grid reinforcement.
Section 8: Enterprise
Enterprise emissions contribute significantly to the carbon inventory. Of particular concern is the correlation between emission growth and increasing economic activity, which is of relevance to DCs given their increased prevalence in recent years.
8.1 State of Play
In light of the predicted rapid growth in energy demand by DCs, further work will be required to align this increase with grid infrastructure plans.
8.3: Measures to Deliver Targets
The Government has identified that different cohorts of enterprise operate in the economy, each of which face distinctive needs and challenges in decarbonising. Accordingly, the Government has outlined a variety of measures which it considers will be critical to their success. One such measure is prioritising the establishment of networks in key sectors, including DCs, in order to promote industry-led sectoral plans.
Section 9: Built Environment
It is envisaged that the improvement in the energy efficiency of buildings will reduce dependence on fossil fuels. DCs have been identified as a possible contributor to this objective.
9.1: State of Play
The concept of district heating networks is outlined in the Climate Action Plan as being an attractive form of climate mitigation. However, this would be dependent on the use of renewable sources of energy or heat which is currently wasted, such as from DCs.