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Major €3.7bn Data Centre Influx Projected for Ireland, According to New Study

07 October, 2015

A significant list of global and indigenous companies are set to establish data centre operations in Ireland over the coming years and the current pipeline of proposed projects could constitute overall investment of €3.7 billion, according to a new report compiled by Callaghan Engineering, specialists in the sector.

According to the report, which includes analysis of EirGrid data including applications for connection to the Irish electricity grid, companies seeking to develop data centre operations over the next five years include Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Vodafone, eBay, Yahoo, BT, Eircom, EMC, Equinix and a number of other international firms.

Entitled “Data-Centre Implications for Energy Use in Ireland” and commissioned by the Irish Wind Energy Association (“IWEA”), the report maintains that a significant increase in electricity supply is required to meet the projected demand from new data centres with an additional 1,136 MW of electrical capacity already in line for integration over the next five years. This represents an approximate 18 percent increase on Ireland’s current electricity demand.

With data centre companies increasingly looking to power their operations using clean and renewable power sources, the increase in electricity capacity required to meet the demand of new data centre developments is expected to be met by Irish wind and renewable energy, which would result in an approximate €1.36 billion investment in Irish renewable energy infrastructure, representing almost a third of the overall investment.

Speaking in advance of the annual Autumn Conference of the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), where the report was launched, Kenneth Matthews, CEO of IWEA, said:

“Ireland has fast become a landing ground for global technology giants locating clean energy data centre operations in Europe, primarily as a result of our energy and connectivity infrastructure, low corporate tax rate, and temperate climate.

“As Apple, Facebook and others have shown globally, renewable energy and data centres make natural partners, and we expect Irish based data centres to continue their commitment to clean energy to fuel their considerable electricity demand, constituting a massive economic opportunity for Ireland, which has renewable energy in abundance, particularly in wind energy.

“By meeting the new demand required to power the projected data centre influx, while also meeting our binding EU 2020 climate targets, wind energy would bring a total saving of at least €43 million per annum on electricity prices for both domestic and industrial consumers, equating to at least €26 per household by 2020,” said Matthews.

The new report finds that commitments by companies to power their data centres by 100 percent renewable energy and Ireland’s national target of achieving 40% of all electricity produced by renewable energy by 2020 will require each MW of data centre capacity to be matched by one MW of renewable energy.

The report also finds that data centres will reduce the cost of integrating wind energy in the Irish market due primarily to their flat demand profile, which lifts the national minimum night time electricity demand, making efficient use of the constant supply of electricity created by wind energy.

A separate study, conducted by Pöyry, a leading international consulting and engineering consultancy, highlighted that if increased demand as a result of new data centres in Ireland is met by conventional fossil fuel energy, wholesale and consumer electricity prices will increase.

Ends

Notes:

The 2015 Callaghan Engineering report entitled “Data-Centre Implications for Energy Use in Ireland” can be found at the following link:
index.cfm/page/industryreports?twfId=1860&download=true

The 2015 Pöyry Consulting report entitled “Future Wind Scenarios and Electricity Market Effect in Ireland” can be found at the following link:
index.cfm/page/industryreports?twfId=1696&download=true

For more information:
Ben Valdimarsson
ReputationInc
Tel: 01 4120512

About IWEA
Established in 1993, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) is the national body representing the wind energy sector in Ireland. IWEA is committed to promoting the use of wind energy in Ireland and beyond as an economically viable and environmentally sound alternative to conventional generation and promotes awareness and understanding of wind power as the primary renewable energy resource. IWEA is also dedicated to education and awareness building, and to building the skills base of the renewable energy sector in Ireland. IWEA also supports the development of other renewable technology, particularly marine energy. IWEA has more than 200 members who incorporate all leading industry voices in Ireland. IWEA acts as a central point for information for its membership as well as a voice to promote wind energy to government. IWEA is entirely self-funded and relies on the support of its members.

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