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Google raises caution over data centre moratorium in Ireland

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

Google has warned against a data centre ban in Ireland, saying it may hold back the country’s digital development.

According to the Irish Times, the warning was part of a submission to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), in which Google said that any moratorium on data centre development needed to be avoided “at all costs”.

The tech giant said a ban would send the “wrong signal” about Ireland’s ambitions as a digital economy and would risk future investment from Google in the country’s data centre infrastructure, claiming a moratorium would “render this impossible”.

The submission also called for more transparency over where there was existing electricity capacity in the Irish network, and said greater clarity was needed over Eirgrid projections on forecasting the growth of data centre electricity usage. Google warned that data centres in Dublin needed to be able to depend on access to the electricity network and that “uncertainty” was “bad for business”.

Google proposed a new tariff system for operators who reserved more capacity than they needed, recommending, “Transmission charging can be designed such that consumers whose demand is not increasing towards their maximum reservation are charged more than those that demonstrate each year that they are growing.”

Raising concerns about plans to prevent data centre development on a regional basis or in Dublin, Google added, “Demand for cloud computing in Dublin is growing, and many cloud services must be delivered by data centres close to the user, that is these services cannot be delivered as needed by customers by data centres located far from Dublin.”

The submission outlined that, while Google understood Ireland’s electricity supply issues, a longer-term approach would rectify these.

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