Up to 82 data centres operating in Republic

Not all such facilities are linked to the electricity supply

There are now 82 data centres operating in the Republic, according to a new analysis by Bitpower, a consulting company. This is an increase of seven in a year. A report completed by Bitpower with consultants Baringa, which was published last July, had put the figure at 75.

Not all data centres are linked to the electricity supply, which is coming under increasing pressure from their usage. Last year they used as much electricity as urban households, according to figures released on Monday by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

EirGrid, the State-owned power provider, has imposed a de facto moratorium on data centres in the Greater Dublin Area being connected to the grid until 2028. All bar five of the existing 82 data centres are in the Dublin region.

EirGrid said that “new data centres requesting connection to the transmission system continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis since November 2021.”


According to Bitpower, a further 14 centres are under construction, while planning has been approved for 40 more in 22 projects. There are a further 12 planning applications filed related to six projects.

Despite the stress they are putting on the country’s infrastructure there is no official census of how many data centres are in operation. Asked at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action last month whether it had a register of data centres, Jim Gannon, chair of the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, replied: “No, we have aspects of that. We certainly would not have the register of licences and licence conditions.”

Jennifer Whitmore, a Social Democrats TD, noted: “I do not believe this information is collected centrally. The Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Environment, Climate and Communications do not have it, and I do not believe any other entity knows exactly how many data centres there are, where they are, what their energy usage is and what the demand is ... It is astonishing that no entity has oversight and visibility of exactly what data centres are using.”

In a background note to its analysis the CSO said that the data provided to it by ESB Networks covered all meters connected to the mains electricity network, and data centres were not readily identifiable from that. So it examined around 2.5 million meters to identify Meter Point Reference Numbers (MPRNs) that it considered were primarily being used for data centre activity.

The CSO said it used three main approaches to make a calculation, starting with a search for names and aliases of known data centres with an energy consumption above a half gigawatt hour. It also examined energy customers in specific business parks with a consumption above a half gigawatt hour. The third approach was to examine all meters with an annual consumption above one gigawatt hour.

In its report the CSO said that, in practical terms, a small number of data centres accounted for most of the metered electricity consumption.

Bitpower says it tracks the industry by calculating the size of each data centre building and applying metrics. “There will often be three or four data centres on a site, which some analysts may count as a single data centre,” said David McAuley, chief executive of Bitpower. “We count each building so the numbers can appear a bit inflated.”