Friday, 3rd July 2020

Irish data centre emissions will level off

Host in Ireland Q1 2020 Quarterly Report shows the carbon impact of data centres to level off at 2.2% of Ireland’s total emissions by 2025 despite strong growth in data centre capacity.

A new report from Host in Ireland, in association with Bitpower, projects that due to the de-carbonisation of the electricity grid and renewable first purchasing policies of the Irish data centre industry, data centre CO2 will level off at about 2.2% of Ireland’s total emissions by 2025. The increase is expected to slow further as the transition to renewable electricity generation accelerates in order to meet the targets in the government’s Climate Action Plan.


Using data from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EirGrid, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of data centres on Ireland’s carbon emissions historically and also looks ahead to the next five years. The model predicts that by the end of 2025, there will be 1,700 MW of data centre capacity operational in Ireland. It also takes into account the SEAI historical data showing the CO2 per unit of electricity has almost halved over the past 15 years and the impact that has on CO2 attributable to data centres in Ireland in the future.


“From Netflix to Zoom to homeschooling, data centres are creating and maintaining the new normal amidst a global pandemic. With this added purpose comes added responsibility both to global citizens and towards the decarbonisation of Ireland’s electricity supply,” said Garry Connolly, president and founder of Host in Ireland.


“The growth of the Irish data centre industry will go hand-in-hand with the development of green electricity to meet power availability demands. Wind generation is virtually an untapped resource of green electricity within Ireland’s borders and coastline and provides limitless opportunities for both Ireland and the industry,” Garry continued.


The Q1 2020 Report also explored the effect of COVID-19 on data centre development activities and found a 10-15% impact on data centre investment projects. While demand remains strong, this will result in €200 million spend being delayed due to the pandemic. Host in Ireland still anticipates an additional €6.7 billion in investment in the industry by 2025.


“As the data centre industry evolves and the renewable energy targets set out by the government come into clearer focus, it is important to ensure the models we put forth in the Host in Ireland Quarterly Report are constantly improving,” said David McAuley, founder and CEO, Bitpower. “In Q1 2020, we revisited our database to fine-tune the numbers based on the latest information. This provided an opportunity to examine the impact of COVID-19 on investments in the industry, the carbon impact of data centres and the scale and growth of the industry as a whole, making the report more accurate and timely than ever before.”

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