People Before Profit TD, and spokesperson on climate, Bríd Smith has welcomed a vote last night, on a PBP motion, by South Dublin County Council to restrict the building of any more data centres in Development Plan for the county. There are some 34 operational data centres in the general Dublin South region with several more being completed including hyperscale centres at Grange Castle and at the Amazon site at Tymon North. Up to a dozen more have already received planning approval.
The motion was proposed by PBP’s Cllr Madeleine Johansson.
Welcoming the vote Deputy Smith said: “The scale and preponderance of data centres in Ireland is a real threat to our energy usage and climate targets. We simply cannot keep feeding these data centres and its now clear that continued approval for such centres will destroy any hope we have of reaching our climate targets in CO2 reductions. Any renewable energy projects we might realise will simply be gobbled up by data centres. They are not sustainable.”
The government rejected a bill previously from People Before Profit which sought an outright ban on data centres nationwide. Instead, the CRU and Eirgrid have proposed new rules which would see centres accommodated in other regions away from Dublin and with some rules around back up generation.
She further said: “The Government has not addressed the core issue, which is that these centres will consume 30% and more of all electricity produced in the state in the coming years with some estimates that continued unrestricted approval of new sites could see up to 70% of our electricity going to them.”
The TD congratulated her PBP colleague Cllr Madeleine Johansson who moved the motion last night saying: “This is tremendously important and hopefully sees many other councils around the country wake up to the dangers involved in unrestricted data centres approvals including the threat of power cuts. For our climate and our future energy needs I hope many more follow this lead.”
Cllr Johansson said: “There is real concern in the local area about the pressure on the electricity grid from data centres. It is also clear from EirGrid’s initial statement in late 2021 that the grid in Dublin is struggling to cope. In addition to the large amount of energy used by data centres they also consume large amounts of water, again adding pressure on the capacity of water services in South Dublin where we are also seeing large new housing developments. I am delighted that councillors have gone beyond nice words and empty promises and actually taken the radical action that is necessary to protect our communities and our planet.”
Gino Kenny, TD for Dublin Mid-West, said: “I would like to congratulate my colleague Cllr Madeleine Johansson for getting this very important motion passed at SDCC. The saturation of data centres would simply make our international climate obligations unattainable. It is very good that this motion was passed, and I hope that other councils across the country will take inspiration from this motion.”