Ireland’s data centre sector has grown significantly over recent years, a trend which shows no signs of slowing down. At present, it is estimated that there are 11 new data centres currently under construction and over 30 in development phase in Ireland. The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed how we work and has led to massive spikes in our consumption of data as a society. This period has shown us now, more than ever the importance of data storage in powering our digital economy. Behind this storage is the critical role of data centres in how they enable us all to work and connect. Another key component at the heart of all this is a secure energy supply. ESB is working consistently to support this sector right from the beginning when a party is interested in developing, through to when it need it connects a finished site to the grid.
At ESB, we help support clients of data centre projects with the obvious energy matters but also on a variety of other specialist areas, including, technical, legal, and commercial. This includes support from early stage design, planning and environmental development; through to procurement, delivery of the construction elements in partnership with contractors; and finally, with commissioning and handover of an operational site.
In the planning phase of new data centres, energy supply is still probably the most important factor in establishing the viability of a project. A secure and well-engineered grid connection, or independent power supply is the first step in this process. Clients, in planning their grid connection will want to know two things, the first being what it’s going to cost them, the second, how long it’s going to take.
We use our knowledge and experience to establish what a connection will cost a client and most importantly if it’s feasible. This is vital from a business case to have that technical knowledge from an early stage in a project.
Often, interested parties will come to us with a business plan for a new data centre, which is generally almost complete and through our expertise, we assist them in getting these plans to the next level. Ensuring appropriate energy management, secure connections and sound energy advice are the key first steps to take at this early stage.
Craig Adamson is Business Development and Commercial Manager at ESB.