Data Storage Development in Ireland

20th September 2018
Submission Summary

As a prescribed body under Article 28 of the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (amended), An Taisce is involved in reviewing planning applications referred by the planning authority.

Over the last year, there have been a number of applications for energy-intensive development including data centres.

As the IDA is promoting Ireland as a global centre for data storage, Ireland needs to set international leadership in energy efficiency through the use of zero-carbon energy.

All developments have the potential to have direct and indirect effects. In the case of a road, it is the upstream and downstream generation of traffic. For power stations, it is the fuel supply input and emission output. For a data storage project, the impact is the energy demand, and emission impact of that energy regardless of where or how it is generated.

The annual growth in the storage of electronic data is a major global climate and resource consumption issue. The net emission reduction benefit of Ireland’s 2020 target of 40% renewable electricity generation is being undermined by rising energy demand, as the effectiveness of a percentage based target is diminished by rising consumption, including the increasing development of Data Centres.

Given the intensity of energy usage, the development of data centres requires the most energy efficient data storage in an appropriate global distribution of locations. Data storage development proposals in Ireland need to be based on appropriate considerations of the direct and indirect effects of the development on energy demand and therefore on climate.

Mitigation is required of the climate emissions arising from the electricity use required by a proposed data centre to meet the objectives of the Climate and Low Carbon Development Act 2015 which incorporates the principle of “Climate Justice”, The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Planning Policy Statement 2015 and the equitable per capita carbon budget for a development country.

The sustainability of any new energy demand development can only be achieved, either by direct renewable power source generation on site or off site with dedicated grid connection, or a dedicated renewable addition to the grid to at least the level of the total annual generating capacity required by the development.

For further information on this topic or An Taisce's involvement in the planning process please contact:

Doireann Ni Cheallaigh (Planning and Environmental Officer) (01) 454 1785 Ian Lumley (Advocacy Officer) (01) 454 1785