Irish government faces pressure from tech giants over power infrastructure

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In a bid to tackle grid capacity issues and accelerate their transition to renewable energy sources, tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are pushing the Irish government to allow them to construct their own private power lines connecting data centers to solar and wind farms.

The move comes as Dublin grapples with a moratorium on new grid connections for data centers, imposed due to ongoing grid capacity pressures. Currently, only the state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is authorized to build power lines connecting properties to the grid.

The tech companies argue that by allowing them to build their own “private wires,” they can expedite the process and reduce costs significantly. They have emphasized that this approach would not only ease the strain on Dublin’s grid but also help them meet their renewable energy targets more efficiently.

Last year, the Irish government launched a public consultation on the matter and has committed to publishing a policy on private wires by the end of 2024. There are indications that the government may consider relaxing restrictions on who can build power lines.

The grid capacity issues in Dublin have led to a de facto moratorium on data center developments in the region until at least 2028. In response, companies have been exploring alternative solutions, such as connecting to the country’s gas network or powering data centers with on-site gas plants.

The tech giants’ push for private power infrastructure reflects a broader trend among large corporations seeking more control over their energy supply chains and a faster transition to renewable energy sources. As governments and regulators grapple with these requests, the outcome could have far-reaching implications for the future of energy infrastructure and sustainability efforts.

(Source: Data Center Dynamics | Irish Times)

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