Power Crisis: Data centers face new regulations in Ireland

As the power crisis continues, governments are evaluating the potential instability of their electric power infrastructure from massive server farms. Ireland has imposed new regulations on IT data centers. Who is next?
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor on

As energy prices rise and supplies come under strain in the winter months, Ireland has introduced new data centres regulations to avoid rolling blackouts for consumers and other businesses.

The latest regulations seek to ensure that data centers have substantial backup generators in the event that power suppliers ask them to cut back on electricity use during peak times.

Ireland has become host to many large data centers built by the largest tech companies, and the number of planned data centers continues to grow in parallel with the rise in demand for Cloud IT services and working from home, which has created a demand for video streaming services, and online commerce. 

However, Irish lawmakers have discussed a bill that includes a moratorium on all new data centers -- about 30 are in planning stages -- along with halting the building of any new fossil fuel-related energy infrastructure. 

The overall goal is to meet Ireland's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 51% by 2030. However, there are also immediate concerns due to a global spike in energy prices along with supply issues. 

China is suffering from rolling blackouts, and it has banned all cryptocurrency mining and trading. The crypto-mining data centers are huge users of electricity. Those operators have now mostly relocated to Texas -- but even there, they could face restrictions as authorities move to prevent consumer blackouts this winter. 

Will data centers have to justify their use? That certainly seems to be the case in China, but what about elsewhere? 

Please see: Data centers and this winter's competition for energy resources.

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