The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) won’t issue a moratorium on new data centres in Ireland, but has outlined new assessment criteria for grid connection applications.
The CRU had been concerned that continuing to allow data centres to connect to the electricity network on current terms would cause problems in meeting consumer energy demand.
The Social Democrat party in Ireland had previously called for moratorium on new data centres over fears about their impact on energy supply and sustainability.
The energy regulator announced that despite having decided against a ban on new facilities at the moment, it “reserves the right to impose a moratorium on data centre connections in future if it deems necessary to do so, to protect security of supply.”
Instead, following a consultation with EirGrid and data centre operators, the CRU said it had made a “balanced decision which protects security of supply while facilitating growth.”
The CRU will implement a new set of criteria for assessing data centre grid connection applications based on the facility location, its on-site power generation ability, and flexibility of its energy demand.
The CRU outlined its new assessment criteria as follows:
- the location of the data centre applicant with respect to whether they are within a constrained or unconstrained region of the electricity system
- the ability of the data centre applicant to bring on-site dispatchable generation (and/or storage) equivalent to or greater than their demand, in order to support security of supply.
- the ability of the data centre applicant to provide flexibility in their demand by reducing consumption when requested to do so by the system operator in times of system constraint through the use of dispatchable on-site generation (and/or storage) in order to support security of supply.
- the ability of the data centre applicant to provide flexibility in their demand by reducing consumption when requested to do so by the relevant system operator, in times of system constraint, in order to support security of supply.
“We thank all stakeholders and industry for their consultation responses, and believe the decision announced today provides a very clear direction for the data centre industry and importantly accommodates growth in the sector while maintaining a responsible and balanced approach to Security of Supply,” said Commissioner Jim Gannon.
“The assessment criteria provides a number of options for data centre operators to bring solutions for all future applications in terms of their own low carbon generation and reducing consumption when that is required.”