Speaking at the Data Centre Ireland conference in Dublin, Simon Coveney described data centres as core digital infrastructure that is economically and socially indispensable, and credited the industry for helping to create tens of thousands of jobs.
Minister Coveney also signalled the Government’s support for sustainable data centre development that provides resilience to the national grid, facilitates the generation of renewable energy, and can play an important role in decarbonising the economy.
“We need to sustain Ireland’s attractiveness as a location of choice for cutting edge global technology businesses in order to strengthen the future of the Irish data centre industry,” He said. “To do so, we will need to facilitate sustainable data centre development that minimises its environmental impact and adheres to our energy and enterprise policy objectives.
“Frequently, public perception around data centres is that they drain Ireland’s energy supplies, increase our carbon emissions, and don’t generate employment. However, the reality is that data centres indirectly employ tens of thousands of people in Ireland, providing jobs across a range of enterprises, primarily from the technology sector.
“It is also important to acknowledge that some data centre operators are corporate leaders in decarbonising data, many of which have committed to net zero carbon and 100% renewable energy goals.
“Data Centres can help with decarbonisation and grid efficiency, through the use of Corporate Purchase Power Agreements (CPPAs), on-site renewables, demand flexibility, storage and other sustainable solutions to reduce the burden on the grid.
“It is the Government’s intention to harness our digital ambition where possible, and for data centres to contribute to our national objectives by facilitating investment in renewable energy, energy storage, ‘energy parks’ and other efficient and sustainable development opportunities.”
Commenting on the Minister’s speech, Echelon CEO Niall Molloy said: “It is very encouraging to hear the Minister’s support for this vitally important sector of the Irish economy. Data centres are the building blocks of the digital economy and provide the heavy lifting for so many of the online aspects of our social and work lives that we now take for granted – such as video calling and messaging, retail, banking, travel, the media, and public services such as healthcare.
“Echelon is committed to providing sustainable large-scale data centre solutions that support the online services that so many of us rely on. Our power solutions are designed support grid resilience and facilitate the generation of renewable energy resources, and we look forward to working with the Government and its agencies as part of the transition to a digital and green economy and society.”
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