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Data centres back in the spotlight-using 18% of total power consumption of the country

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  • Registered Users Posts: 961 ✭✭✭phunkadelic


    Here's Leo's view on it:

    He also defended the growth of data centres as an integral part of Ireland's economy as he said over 100,000 people who work in the tech sector rely on their existence.

    Jesus wept



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,966 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    I hear gobsh1tes like Michael Healy Rae defending them for 'providing jobs'.

    Did he? Have you a link? I imagine Michael still has an old Nokia.

    Extremely weird a non government TD is singled out when we have had far more high profile politicians defend them just yesterday.

    Anyway this was flagged a decade ago by the people who actually run the grid and there has been numerous threads on it.

    The job creation, amount of jobs, economy, etc are all moot.

    It's simple maths, the energy isn't there for unfettered growth in these things.

    Fine Gael putting them on the same strategic planning as the likes of Hospitals allowed to them grow unsustainability.

    As far as I can tell now they have now been paused, which is hilarious given the defence of them is they are vital for the economy and the sector.

    As usual opposition Politian's asking all the wrong questions.



  • Registered Users Posts: 961 ✭✭✭phunkadelic


    There's lots of clueless TDs coming out defending them. I happened to hear Healy Rae on RTE radio1 Late Debate last night. I used him as an example as he used the jobs angle as reasoning.

    They have only paused new data centres for the Dublin area, the moratorium doesn't apply to the rest of the country.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,195 ✭✭✭crusd


    If we want the internet and everything that comes with it data centres need to go somewhere . Better in a temperate climate where maintaining temperature control is easier and in a location at low risk for natural disasters. They should contribute to the creation of the infrastructure to support them however.

    It can also be argued that locating them in a region of intermittent high supply of renewable energy(wind) is probably of benefit also. One of the problems is the wind does not necessarily blow when network demand is high therefore missing out on energy at certain times. Data centres level the demand somewhat, allowing advantage to be taken of wind energy when there.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,889 ✭✭✭Cordell


    So People Against Datacentres, are you against the datacentres, or are you against datacenters in your backyard?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭ZookeeperDub


    TO give an idea of what jobs are created. The initial build of a DC means a huge workforce required to build it, not just build it but all the supply companies/planners etc. This is huge investments that are made.

    After the initial build a DC doesn't just run itself with a couple of low paid workers. Maybe you would have a few people in the DC who would be handling red light issues etc, swapping parts, these are not low paid. The NOC would be skilled workers, but it does depend on what location the NOC is in, the NOC can be in a remote location depending on the DC and the information held in it. This might be in a Worldwide location or have to be within Europe or within Ireland.

    Then of course you have all of the peripherals around a DC, all the companies involved in power/cooling/fire systems etc etc. These all require people, they are always external companies but create job in Ireland. All high tech jobs but not IT in some cases. You will also have a company for the site, gardening etc. Security jobs of course to protect the site. The equipment in reality in these DC's are on a constant rotation of been refreshed to keep up with current trends in the market. The larger DC's would have a team just working all the time bringing in new equipment and replacing older equipment.

    Plus the DC companies themselves are constantly trying to drive down the amount of energy they use because that costs money, so the DC itself will be upgraded on a constant cycle to reduce energy requirement plus also install new equipment to increase up time etc. In fact canteen is probably something a lot of these places don't provide.

    Sales/procurement/management etc would all be required as well which typically would sit locally. You have a lot of DC's in Ireland of course who are run by HP/IBM etc for customer use so they have a sales team/etc working all the time to sell the space. High paying jobs.

    Plus the interconnects to and from the DC, this again would be on a constant cycle to install/repair/upgrade and provides jobs in Eir/BT/Vodafone etc

    This is just a sample of jobs created. In regards to the 1800 number, this is what the document says: Employment in data centres are high value jobs, and although the numbers directly employed in data centres is relatively low at 1,800 they stimulate additional economic activity.

    In the same paragraph it mention 1900 construction workers involved per year in DC's along with other information.

    In terms of the energy usage, potentially Ireland should look at getting carbon credits because they are housing large DC's here which serve users outside of Ireland. Ireland is one of the best climates for a DC so it would reduce less electricity than in other locations, this of course is not what people want to hear as we are getting no reward, but if we got something for housing these DC's outside of all the jobs created that might help.

    We should also push to get these DC's to provide some of their own requirements, these are large warehouses after all and Kingspan done a project years ago to put Solar panels onto their manufacturing and warehouses so they could move towards carbon neutral. This is something which should be included on all projects moving forward and hopefully retrofitted to existing. Also if in a windy area why not install wind turbines? etc

    This is not currently part of the planning from what I know but should be updated to be included.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,014 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    Data centres are not going to draw less power when the grid is under stress - they are commercial outfits which will not reduce their service for the good of the country.

    They are nothing more than a vampire industry, in that the benefit of having a data centre here (as opposed to elsewhere in Europe) is the employment generated during construction, and then a few cleaners and security staff once they're built. The drawback being a huge drain on our limited energy resources.

    The reason we have so many and are such a destination is because other countries do not want them, whereas Ireland Inc. invited them all in, ignored all the warnings, and now here we are.



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,966 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    I'm not arguing against data centres. If we want the internet we will also need to power the devices that lets us access the internet.

    Like I said it is basic maths, the energy is not there. It has been flagged for a decade. That's before we even consider our emission targets.

    If they are vital for the economy as has been stated but their a moratorium on them at least in Dublin maybe potentially nationwide then that is a colossal planning error.

    But probably the most annoying thing is that domestic users are adapting to using less energy, but they will be the ones further hammered with punitive taxation.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,889 ✭✭✭Cordell


    But probably the most annoying thing is that domestic users are adapting to using less energy, but they will be the ones further hammered with punitive taxation.

    That's a different problem not related to datacentres. Domestic energy and fuel should not have any tax on top of VAT, there should be no carbon tax and no excise duty on basic needs.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,193 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    Problem is... data centres alone use almost 4% of energy consumption in this country..they dont give a fŭck as if there is an outage they have back up generators to keep them temporarily going... private citizens and small to medium sized businesses dont have that luxury..

    Problem is our grid is under extreme pressure... the number of 'Amber alerts' issued is high with the higher demand for electricity. Population growing exponentially....no slowdown is expected...

    Data centres 'vital' to the economy ? Once operational they employ few people in respect to their size...People are not required...

    Look on Google maps... a handful of car parking spaces.. about 25-30 at one I'm looking at which at a guesstimate is around the same size as T2 in Dublin airport...



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,695 ✭✭✭✭One eyed Jack


    The data centre entities surveyed as part of the Grant Thornton study for IDA Ireland indicate a total economic impact of over €7 billion since 2010 (including direct economic impact of €4.54 billion indirectly). Almost 1,000 suppliers have been contracted by data centres with 77 percent domestically based, benefiting from 90 percent of the total expenditure.

    Taken from the report provided in the opening post, which is largely positive about the overall impact and importance of data centres to the Irish economy.

    As for their energy usage, when put in it’s proper context, data centres are a singular entity in both the services and industrial sector, which still uses less energy than the transport and logistics sector -

    https://www.seai.ie/data-and-insights/seai-statistics/key-statistics/energy-use-overview/


    What Michael Healy Rae is interested in isn’t just jobs, but he’s also interested in ensuring Government are working towards the future of energy generation and sustainability in Ireland -

    https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023-02-21/158/?highlight%5B0%5D=coal


    He does make the rather more obvious point in this interview though, stating that you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs -

    https://www.rte.ie/radio/radio1/clips/22262868/


    I’d imagine there are a few contracted catering, security and facilities staff are wondering could they cook an omelette in a data centre in this weather 😁

    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-62202125.amp



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,957 ✭✭✭kirk.


    Is it 4% or 18%



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,966 ✭✭✭✭Boggles


    It isn't really.

    Datacentres can dictate where at least some of their energy comes from. The likes of Amazon or Microsoft will land into a windfarm and tell them they want their energy exclusively for the next decade at this set price + % fluctuations, not only that with the money you receive we want the energy from the other farm you build beside it on the same terms. Then they get to put a green leaf on their website.

    You or I can't.

    If we are not meeting our emission targets it will be the further stick until it gets to the point where there is nothing left to save and then you are squarely into energy poverty.

    But again it's basic maths, domestic users are down 9%, datacentres are up 31%.

    It's completely unsustainable. Again that isn't just my opinion, it has been flagged for years.



  • Registered Users Posts: 476 ✭✭feelings


    Tech jobs have peaked. With the evolution of AI and remote working, there will be a decline in the numbers working in tech here soon.

    We should be putting pressure on the government to advance renewable electricity projects asap. We're estimated to have huge surpluses over the next three years, we should be pumping that money into renewables and water infrastructure. We should be exporting electricity (and water). Not worried whether the we have capacity for data centres ffs.



  • Registered Users Posts: 25,193 ✭✭✭✭Strumms


    18%, my tired typo intimidated 4% …centres accounted for 18% of total energy consumption in 2022 according to the latest CSO figures …



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 23,211 Mod ✭✭✭✭godtabh


    A lot of the planning applications I have seen have for DCs include independent power generation units (gas) with diesel back up. Build them and let them power themselves. 



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,595 ✭✭✭quokula


    So for all the people saying the energy is not there... where have all these blackouts been happening due to a lack of energy because of datacenters? I certainly haven't noticed them. They pay for the energy they use the same as any other business, they produce jobs as has been mentioned, in some cases they can help load balance the grid and they are a fundamentally important piece of infrastructure without which none of us would be able to post on this site amongst many other things.

    Ireland is a good location because of our geography and climate and it is better for the world as a whole for data centres to be located in areas where they don't need as much cooling and are less likely to be subject to extreme weather events. Ireland isn't the only country with optimal conditions, but we're far from being the only country with a lot of data centres too.

    Here is an article that outlines the issues seen in the US or even as close as London where consistently hotter weather than here has created actual genuine problems with real knock on impacts for both the data centres and the power grids at their locations. The article even cites data centres in Dublin as being examples of how to do it sustainably, unlike the ones in those countries which are struggling.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,195 ✭✭✭crusd


    They do pay for the power they use you know.

    And fro,m an environmental impact point of view, Ireland is one of the better places to have them. if you are going to have them. We could not have them at all though. Or is it just NIMBY?



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,565 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Eh, exporting electricity? Surely, it would be better to sell that electricity to data centres located here and you have to source their electricity here rather than exporting it to other countries who might be able to buy electricity from somebody else?



  • Registered Users Posts: 39,966 ✭✭✭✭Boggles




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  • Registered Users Posts: 27,565 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    It is probably the height of irony to see internet discussions arguing against data centres. You can't have an internet discussion without a data centre.

    Ireland is one of the best locations worldwide for data centres. Our relatively benign weather, neither too hot and requiring excessive cooling, or too cold requiring heating, is key.

    We are also the location where many of the international interconnectors come ashore, making it logical that data centres be based here.

    Finally, as we move towards renewable energy, if we can boost up offshore wind as planned, we will have plenty of surplus electricity to be used in data centres.

    What I have yet to hear from any single data centre objector is another location where they are better suited.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,014 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    7 billion over a decade is peanuts - especially when they are using almost 20% of all electricity used in this country.

    That study just goes to prove how little an economic impact they have had for the scale of the resources they are using.



  • Registered Users Posts: 476 ✭✭feelings


    Yes, electricity and water.

    If the data centres move on - we're left selling it to who? pharma maybe, if we're lucky. Farmers certainly don't need that sort of power.

    Exporting it to Europe, or to our nearest neighbour makes far more sense in the long term.



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,565 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Exporting electricity versus using it for local industry, I think I will take the latter.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,595 ✭✭✭quokula


    That just supports what I was saying. The energy is there, and it's being taken into account when it comes to future expansions to ensure it never expands beyond what we have the capacity for. Exactly how it should be and exactly why we aren't suffering any negative effects, so where's the problem?



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,014 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    Bitcoin miners also pay for the power they use - they are still a waste of electricity and have been banned in several nations due to the massive power draw they place on the grid.

    If data centers are so important globally - then why don't other nations pay towards the running of these data centres too?



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,565 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    But Ireland isn't paying for the running of these data centres!!! The data centres are paying for themselves!!!



  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 26,322 Mod ✭✭✭✭Podge_irl


    Ireland doesn't "pay" towards the running of them, those who build and run them pay for them.



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,014 ✭✭✭timmyntc


    Ireland pays the infrastructural costs - data centre electricity rates do not cover the cost of generation infrastructure required. Neither do any capital costs they pay upfront either.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,280 ✭✭✭ZookeeperDub


    Just thinking about this and done some research, at the moment from a quick google Ireland has 70 DC's. Looking at other countries paying towards the ones in Ireland will that not mean we have to pay towards the ones not in Ireland? numbers below suggest that would put us at a disadvantage

    Carbon credits could help towards our carbon targets

    Plus change planning as suggested with solar pv could help get them to supply towards the grid, plus generate more jobs of course.

    The top 15 countries with the most data centers are the United States (2,701), Germany (487), the U.K. (456), China (443), and Canada (328), Australia (287), Netherlands (281), France (265), Japan (207), Russia (172), Mexico (153), Brazil (150), India (138), Poland (136), and Italy (131). (Techjury)

    Europe

    1. The UK is the leading colocation service provider in Europe, with over 250 colocation data centers. (Further Market Insights)
    2. Europe’s largest data centre is CWL1 in Newport, Wales. Built to Tier III standards, it boasts 1,450,000 square feet. (Ranked.com)
    3. Europe’s data center market size will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 10% between 2023 and 2032. (Global Market Insights)
    4. Germany has the highest amount of data centers in Europe. As of October 2022, Germany had 487 data centers spread around the country. (Statista)
    5. Zurich was the most expensive market to build a data center in 2022, costing $12 per watt. (Statista
    6. Data center power capacity is expected to increase in the Nordics, more than any other region in Europe, with a combined growth rate of 11% through 2027. The development of hyperscale data centers and high-performance computing drives this. (MMR)




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