Google warns of data center development restrictions in Ireland

Google has warned that any ban on developing data centers in Ireland must be avoided and will seriously hamper the country’s transformation into a digital and green economy.

In a detailed submission to the Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU), the tech giant said any moratorium on data center development must be avoided “at all costs”.

Google said it would send the “wrong signal” about Ireland’s ambitions as a digital economy and risk hampering businesses that want to use cloud services.

Google said it wanted to continue investing in data center infrastructure in the country, but a moratorium “would make that impossible”.

The multinational has warned that data centers in Dublin must be able to depend on access to the electricity grid and that any “uncertainty” about this is “bad for business”.

Google said any changes to data center policy planned by the CRU must be temporary in nature as longer-term solutions to Ireland’s electricity shortage have been identified.

Electrical capacity

In his submission, he called for more transparency on where there was existing electricity capacity in the Irish grid, adding that there needed to be more clarity and openness on Eirgrid’s projections on forecasting the growth in data center electricity consumption.

Google proposed a new pricing system for data center operators that reserved more capacity than they ultimately needed, or were too slow to reach that capacity.

“Transmission pricing can be designed so that consumers whose demand does not increase towards their maximum reservation are charged more than those who demonstrate annual growth,” he said. .

The communication also said that, while it understands Ireland’s current problems with electricity supply, these could be solved by a longer-term approach.

Google was particularly concerned about any plans to block the development of data centers on a regional or Dublin basis, saying it came with its own risks.

“The demand for cloud computing in Dublin is growing,” he said, “and many cloud services need to be provided by data centers close to the user, i.e. these services cannot not be provided on a customer-needed basis by data centers located far from Dublin. »

Supply issues

Google said they would pilot an on-site battery shortage at a data center in Belgium, but that technology was still in its infancy.

A separate submission from Amazon Web Services (AWS) said Ireland had missed opportunities in the past to address supply issues.

“Over the past decade, there have been opportunities to deploy reinforcements, prepare the network for growth and investment, and equip the network for the integration of more intermittent resources. »

Amazon Web Services said it explored suggestions that connections to data centers could be prioritized if they were located in areas with “unconstrained” power grids.

However, it was “not sure” that such a location existed in Ireland given the constraints on nationwide electricity supply.

They also said they could not support any initiative to make data centers dependent on fossil fuel generators for backup supplies.

These documents are among eight tenders considered confidential by the CRU, which were received last year as part of a consultation on the development of data centers in Ireland. They were released under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations.

However, the release of one of the submissions was appealed by the limited company that sent it to CRU. Two others were retained for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

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