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Figures show there is a real risk that data centres will exceed 30 per cent of all energy usage by 2030 

The Government is continuing to turn a blind eye to a surge in energy consumption by data centres, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on energy, said:

“Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today show that the percentage of metered electricity consumed by data centres rose from 5 per cent in 2015 to 18 per cent in 2022. This is the same percentage as metered electricity used by all urban dwellings.

“It also means that data centres are consuming significantly more electricity than all rural homes combined (10 per cent).

“Electricity consumption by data centres increased by 31 per cent between 2021 and 2022. The increase between January to March 2015 and October to December 2022 was 400 per cent. Meanwhile, residential median electricity consumption was down by 12 per cent last year compared with 2021.

“The Government has dismissed previous warnings that metered electricity consumption by data centres could rise to 30 per cent by 2030. However, the CSO statistics released today indicate we are on course to meet or even exceed that figure.

“Responsibility for meeting our climate action targets should not fall on individual customers while the Government conveniently ignores runaway energy consumption by data centres. It is also notable that the release of the CSO figures coincides with yet another amber alert on electricity supplies, underscoring the fragility of supply.

“Data centres put pressure on our national grid, make it more difficult to reach our climate action targets and can lead to rising energy prices. The need for strategic oversight and management of data centres by the Government could not be clearer.”

June 12, 2023

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