A ban on the building of data centres and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals has been put to the Government as a further means of Ireland meeting its climate improvement targets.
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Opposition party People Before Profit has introduced a new bill, recommending the banning of such infrastructure, in a bid to address what it calls “glaring gaps” in the Government’s Climate Bill, which is due to pass through the Dáil this week.
People Before Profit claims that 70 data centres, which house IT systems for many of the large tech multinationals here, are currently operational in Ireland, with 30 in various stages of the planning process. Allowing further construction contradicts the Government’s stated climate action plans, the party said.
“We can’t reach our commitments under Paris and pretend that we can allow 100-plus data centres over the next decade," said People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith.
"Other states and cities have also looked to impose restrictions on their growth.
“Real climate action can’t happen if we are simultaneously planning to have over half of any increase in renewable energy swallowed up by mega data centres by 2030,” she said.
Eirgrid recently said that it is open to the idea of shifting data centres away from the Greater Dublin area and having them more evenly distributed around the country, thus removing their potential drain on the capital’s energy supply. Currently, any new data centre operator opening in Dublin is required to have its own back-up generators.
The Government last month agreed to block the importing of fracked gas and put a moratorium on LNG storage terminal development until the completion of the ongoing review of Ireland’s security of energy supply.
People Before Profit's Paul Murphy said that does not go far enough to kill off projects such as the proposed €500m LNG terminal in the Shannon estuary.
“It remains a real danger that we are walking into the building of major LNGs in this State under the nose of our Green Party minister, which is why this legislation is needed to place an absolute ban on such developments during the climate emergency," he said.