We have seen continuous growth in the Irish data centre sector in recent years and we can only expect further progress in the sector in years to come as our lives shift further online.
The covid-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of data storage in powering our digital economy. As more of us have stayed and worked at home, the critical role that data centres play in powering industry, the economy and society as a whole, has become more apparent. While we are beginning to reopen the economy we can be sure that the way we work has been changed forever. More and more people will work from home, and more businesses will adopt a digital first approach, relying on data storage and the existence of data centres.
Growth in national energy demand and growth in the data centre sector are closely aligned. With ambitious targets amongst most nations to reduce carbon emissions and respond to climate change this poses a unique challenge to the data centre industry, and as a global hub for data centres, to Ireland specifically. Data centres are responding to this challenge with energy-efficient design, sustainability championed throughout their operation and, increasingly, through flexible electricity connections. Flexible grid connections will see large energy users, such as data centres, playing a critical role in balancing the national energy system by making more regular use of onsite generation as part of their standard operating model.
The key to ensuring sustainability in the data centre sector lies in designing for the future from the outset of a project. ESB supports this sector right from the early concept stage when a party is interested in developing and establishing the viability of a project, through to sustainable energy design, connecting the development to the grid, to energy supply and right through to assisting in ongoing energy management and sustainable operations.
ESB has a wealth of experience in shaping Ireland’s energy landscape stemming from the establishment of the Shannon Scheme and the electrification of Ireland to supporting the energy needs of today’s digital sector. We are committed to leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy for our customers and Ireland’s burgeoning data centre sector will play a key role in supporting this transition.
Trina Orpen is Business Customer Experience and Strategy Manager at ESB