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Probably yes if your energy consuming equipment is over five years old.

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We have seen continuous growth in the Irish data centre sector in recent years and we can only expect further progress in the sector in years to come as our lives shift further online.

The covid-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of data storage in powering our digital economy. As more of us have stayed and worked at home, the critical role that data centres play in powering industry, the economy and society as a whole, has become more apparent. While we are beginning to reopen the economy we can be sure that the way we work has been changed forever. More and more people will work from home, and more businesses will adopt a digital first approach, relying on data storage and the existence of data centres.

Growth in national energy demand and growth in the data centre sector are closely aligned.  With ambitious targets amongst most nations to reduce carbon emissions and respond to climate change this poses a unique challenge to the data centre industry, and as a global hub for data centres, to Ireland specifically.  Data centres are responding to this challenge with energy-efficient design, sustainability championed throughout their operation and, increasingly, through flexible electricity connections.  Flexible grid connections will see large energy users, such as data centres, playing a critical role in balancing the national energy system by making more regular use of onsite generation as part of their standard operating model.

The key to ensuring sustainability in the data centre sector lies in designing for the future from the outset of a project.   ESB supports this sector right from the early concept stage when a party is interested in developing and establishing the viability of a project, through to sustainable energy design, connecting the development to the grid, to energy supply and right through to assisting in ongoing energy management and sustainable operations.

ESB has a wealth of experience in shaping Ireland’s energy landscape stemming from the establishment of the Shannon Scheme and the electrification of Ireland to supporting the energy needs of today’s digital sector. We are committed to leading the transition to reliable, affordable, low-carbon energy for our customers and Ireland’s burgeoning data centre sector will play a key role in supporting this transition.

Trina Orpen is Business Customer Experience and Strategy Manager at ESB


Data Centres (DCs) are predicted as being a significant user of Irish energy resources. The Irish Government’s
2019 Climate Action Plan predicts that DCs will account for as much as 31% of Ireland’s electricity needs by 2027.
By the same token, the DC industry is playing an important role in promoting the move to renewable energy in the
context of Ireland’s target to achieve 70% of our electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2030. This market update looks at the recent impact of COVID-19 on the DC sector and also gives a brief explanation of the concept of ‘flexible demand’ in the context of EirGrid’s data centre grid connection policy.

COVID-19 Impact


The Government recognises DC services as an essential service under the Government regulations introduced as
a response to the COVID-19 pandemic (the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A -Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19)
Regulations 2020). As such, the operation of DCs in Ireland has been permitted to continue with relatively limited
disruption, save to take account of the Government guidance to adapt work places and work practices to ensure
the health and safety of workers in light of COVID-19.


Notwithstanding that the operation of DCs is recognised as an essential service, as with most construction projects in Ireland, the construction of DCs was required to cease for much of April and May. Even with construction now resuming across the country as part of Ireland’s road map for reopening society and business, the regulatory framework for construction of DCs has now changed in order to ensure the health and safety of workers.

DC developers and construction contractors alike will be seeking to ascertain how delays and the changes in law will be determined under relevant construction contracts. A key consideration for DC developers will be what time and cost relief is available to contractors and what knock on or pass through effect this will have on other key contracts (such as lease or offtake arrangements). Contracts will differ across projects and it is recommended that legal advice is taken on the specific relief events and how these apply across the contractual framework.


For DCs that are in the planning phase, it is worth noting that orders under section 251A of the Planning Acts have extended certain planning time periods (such as planning authority decision periods and public participation periods) which were due to fall during the COVID-19 emergency for up to eight weeks (i.e. 56 days). Care should be taken in relation to the calculation of any time periods and specialist legal advice should be sought when seeking to determine if an extension of a time period is applicable and what the implications are.

Security of power supply

Availability of stable power supply remains one of the principal considerations for DC developers, particularly in Dublin. The Dublin region continues to be an area with high capacity constraint. As with all major infrastructure projects, the delivery of additional generation capacity and grid reinforcements in the region will take time. Therefore securing access to stable power, in line with development timeframe, continues to be a potential challenge in the Dublin region. This challenge has been acknowledged by the system operators who are seeking to address it through long term planning for additional generation capacity and shorter term measures to facilitate the connection of data centres, including flexible demand arrangements.

Grid Connection policy – What is ‘Flexible Demand’?

As set out in EirGrid’s Data Centre Connection Offer Process and Policy (DC COPP Paper) paper published in June 2019, ‘flexible demand’ refers to an arrangement whereby the electrical load of the data centre is required to be reduced when instructed by EirGrid, where capacity availability in the area is constrained (i.e. where demand exceeds the level or potential level of supply in that area). It applies to offer connections where firm (i.e. guaranteed) capacity is not readily available.

What DCs does Flexible Demand policy apply to?

EirGrid will apply flexible demand policy to areas that have been identified as being constrained areas. EirGrid has identified the greater Dublin region as being a constrained area to which these rules apply but also reserved the right to apply the rules to other constrained regions should a risk to security of supply arise.

The rules apply to all new DCs connecting directly to the transmission system or to large DCs connecting indirectly to the transmission system through the distribution system in constrained areas. Therefore the geographic location of the DC together with its scale and connection characteristics may drive the requirement for flexible demand arrangements.

The rules are also stated to apply to existing customers that have already received or are due to receive a connection offer with a flexible arrangement included.

The terms of the flexible demand arrangements will be reflected in the terms and conditions of the grid connection agreement (typically in the offer letter which forms part of the wider grid connection offer ‘pack’). It is recommended that legal advice is taken on the specific drafting of flexible demand provisions in grid connection agreements.

How is Flexible Demand applied?

Where there is a security of supply event, EirGrid can automatically instruct DCs with flexible demand to reduce their load (having firstly dispatched available generation and demand side units). The instruction to reduce load will be applied on a pro-rata basis to all DCs in the area with flexible demand that can best resolve the constraint. EirGrid has set out the following hierarchy for dispatch in order to resolve instances of constraint:

(a)          EirGrid will call on available generation (including relevant on-site generation) and demand side units;

(b)          Pro rata constraint across flexible demand centres in a particular area to resolve localised or regional constraint; and

(c)          Standard emergency measures are implemented thereafter if constraint is not resolved.

The DC COPP Paper is limited in terms of detail as to how dispatch instructions will be managed with flexible demand DCs. Given the criticality of power supply to the operation of DCs, we anticipate that DC operators with flexible demand facilities will be keen to engage with EirGrid to better understand the operational practicalities of reacting to EirGrid instructions.

Are Flexible Demand arrangements permanent?

Flexible demand arrangements are not intended to be permanent. Rather the policy is designed to facilitate the connection of DCs and to seek to bridge the gap between, on the one hand, short term connection needs of DC developers and on the other hand the grid and generation capacity immediately available for that purpose.

Longer term this should be capable of being alleviated through greater generation capacity (for example through capacity market contracts), grid reinforcements and potential on-site generation solutions. The DC COPP Paper recognises this and commits to annual capacity reviews following capacity market auctions to identify areas where additional firm capacity can be offered to DCs with flexible demand arrangements.

In determining whether to allocate new firm capacity to DCs with flexible demand, EirGrid will take into account (among other things) whether the DC is using its full import capacity and the date on which the DC connected to the transmission network. We assume the intention is that DCs with earlier connections with flexible demand arrangements, will be given firm capacity first, but this is unclear in the policy document.

How do DCs know how much load reduction to plan for?

EirGrid has committed to providing guidance to DC customers with flexible demand as to the anticipated level of reduced load that can be expected at times for a given connection year. DC operators will need to consider the extent to which this can assist in managing the operation of a DC with flexible demand.

Is there any other way that a DC can achieve fully firm capacity?

The DC COPP Paper states that EirGrid will provide firm capacity where a DC provides on-site dispatchable generation that is available for an extended period of time. This refers to on-site generation that is capable of supplying electricity to the grid and can be centrally controlled by EirGrid. The example given in the DC COPP Paper is generation that is available for a minimum of 15 hours per day over five consecutive days. Whilst some flexibility is suggested for generation with lower availability, this would likely exclude certain storage technologies such as batteries.

The intention of this policy seems to be to incentivise DCs to contribute to the alleviation of constraints in the area by being able to dispatch additional generation capacity when required. Interestingly the DC COPP Paper requires that this generation must be on the same site and owned by the customer. It is unclear whether this would preclude typical ‘auto-production’ generator models where generation is onsite but the generation plant may be owned by a third party, however we would suggest that this is not the intention.


Whilst flexible demand policy undoubtedly leaves challenges for DC developers to manage, it does represent an effort by system operators to facilitate the connection of DCs to the system in constrained areas. We continue to monitor developments in this important area including any future industry consultations in relation to flexible demand policy. When considering connecting on the basis of flexible demand arrangements, interaction with the system operators is encouraged to understand the practicalities of these arrangements. Similarly, legal and technical advice should be taken to ensure the arrangements are appropriately documented, understood and incorporated into project design.

For more information on this topic please contact John Dallas, Partner or Robbie Nicholas, Associate or a member of A&L Goodbody’s Data Centres team.


To increase the value of the IST commissioning tests using the rack-mounted load banks 7 kW, RENTALOAD developed and add in its accessory list new smart boxes :  ATS – External Automatic Transfer Switch. Discover all these features in this article.

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Understanding the comparative differences in “pure” lead technologies of lead-acid batteries can allow operators to optimize performance and reduce costs in UPS systems – even with increased ambient temperatures in the facility. Learn how pure lead goes beyond the grid.

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In any one enterprise organisation right now, there may be 4 or 5 separate asset management tracking systems or, more likely, several separate spreadsheets with different naming conventions and probably some overlaps and out-dated information. Many data centres are still managing their assets on spreadsheets, which is, in our opinion, sub-optimal.

This article shows you 10 reasons why great asset management can significantly and positively impact your bottom line in data centre operations.

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C&D Technologies, Inc. understands the importance of mission-critical applications and our customers’ need for absolute reliability in their battery systems, and equally important: the most cost-effective solution possible. With that goal in mind, we strive to stay on the leading edge of the battery industry by developing new technologies and enhancing existing ones.

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Data centre operators and providers should consider the benefit of critical equipment hire, following multiple reports of disruption and delays of infrastructure projects and to the lead times of vital equipment.

According to the Institute for Supply Management, 57% of companies have noted longer lead times for tier one China-sourced components, with average lead times more than doubling compared to the end of 2019. With supply chain issues being reported across the global data centre market, Aggreko is reminding data centre providers and operators to consider rental solutions to ensure infrastructure projects or cooling requirements are not impacted during this crucial time.

Across the globe, construction and maintenance is starting to be phased back, including significant data centre infrastructure projects. As building work is ramped up, so too will the demand for equipment and there are some concerns that the supply chain will not be able to provide the same support as agreed prior to lockdown.

Whether it is critical equipment for new data centres, testing facility capacity or sourcing replacement parts during the maintenance of existing facilities, implementing a temporary rental solution can keep facilities in operation when waiting for components and critical equipment to arrive. Rental power and cooling solutions are scalable and flexible. Any output requirements can be satisfied over any period of time, and this can be adapted if these requirements or timeframes change.

If the arrival of components and parts that are required during the construction or maintenance of a data centre is delayed in any way, operations could see significant delays. With data centre demand at a peak in order to facilitate remote working and medical data storage, and with a rise in demand for new infrastructure to facilitate emerging tech – such as 5G – downtime or delays are simply not an option.

“Rental solutions could mean the continuation of operations when there are delays in the delivery of critical equipment,” says Chris Rason, Managing Director at Aggreko. “Whether it is a power or cooling system, temporary solutions are scalable and flexible and so can be implemented in any size of data centre for however long they may be required.”

He adds, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Aggreko has continued to operate at full capacity. This means that rental can provide a stop-gap solution for data centre projects, while the supply chain returns to capacity. As the data centre industry starts to return, having an added safety net of rental equipment can ensure delays are minimised.”

For more information about how rental solutions can be implemented into a data centre, visit:

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Nick Whittaker

T: +44 (0) 121 456 3004


Gideon Casey

T: +44 (0) 121 456 3004


One of the most common metrics for measuring efficiency in facilities that host data centers for financial, insurance and telecommunications facilities is a power usage effectiveness (PUE). Electrical distribution system losses account for 12% of the total energy consumed by the data center. In addition, unscheduled downtime in a data center is now estimated to cost over $8,000 per minute – not to mention the reputational damage to the data center company. One method for increasing reliability is to implement Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices (EMSDs) such as
infrared windows, ultrasound ports, voltage detection ports and online monitoring to allow energized electrical maintenance tasks to be completed safely and efficiently.

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Host in Ireland Q1 2020 Quarterly Report shows the carbon impact of data centres to level off at 2.2% of Ireland’s total emissions by 2025 despite strong growth in data centre capacity.

DUBLIN, IRELAND – A new report from Host in Ireland, in association with Bitpower, projects that due to the de-carbonisation of the electricity grid and renewable first purchasing policies of the Irish data centre industry, data centre CO2 will level off at about 2.2% of Ireland’s total emissions by 2025. The increase is expected to slow further as the transition to renewable electricity generation accelerates in order to meet the targets in the government’s Climate Action Plan.

Using data from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EirGrid, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the impact of data centres on Ireland’s carbon emissions historically and also looks ahead to the next five years. The model predicts that by the end of 2025, there will be 1,700 MW of data centre capacity operational in Ireland. It also takes into account the SEAI historical data showing the CO2 per unit of electricity has almost halved over the past 15 years and the impact that has on CO2 attributable to data centres in Ireland in the future.

“From Netflix to Zoom to homeschooling, data centres are creating and maintaining the new normal amidst a global pandemic. With this added purpose comes added responsibility both to global citizens and towards the decarbonisation of Ireland’s electricity supply,” said Garry Connolly, president and founder of Host in Ireland.

“The growth of the Irish data centre industry will go hand-in-hand with the development of green electricity to meet power availability demands. Wind generation is virtually an untapped resource of green electricity within Ireland’s borders and coastline and provides limitless opportunities for both Ireland and the industry,” Garry continued.

The Q1 2020 Report also explored the effect of COVID-19 on data centre development activities and found a 10-15% impact on data centre investment projects. While demand remains strong, this will result in €200 million spend being delayed due to the pandemic. Host in Ireland still anticipates an additional €6.7 billion in investment in the industry by 2025.

“As the data centre industry evolves and the renewable energy targets set out by the government come into clearer focus, it is important to ensure the models we put forth in the Host in Ireland Quarterly Report are constantly improving,” said David McAuley, founder and CEO, Bitpower. “In Q1 2020, we revisited our database to fine-tune the numbers based on the latest information. This provided an opportunity to examine the impact of COVID-19 on investments in the industry, the carbon impact of data centres and the scale and growth of the industry as a whole, making the report more accurate and timely than ever before.”

You can find the full Q1 2020 Industry update report here:

For more information please contact:

Joyce Wady

Host in Ireland

M: +44 (0) 7552 507 249

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