Ireland faces data centre challenge to power demand 

Posted: October 16, 2017 by oldbrew in data, Energy, government, ideology, Uncertainty
Tags: , ,

A computer-generated image of Apple’s first Irish data centre [credit: Apple]

Data centre owners won’t like the idea of being at the mercy of unreliable power sources for their vital electricity. ‘Welcome to the energy crunch’ seems to be the message out of this report from Power Engineering International.

Data centres will consume 20 per cent of Ireland’s power generation capacity by 2025, according to the country’s main grid operator, Eirgrid.

Eirgrid added that the huge increase in data centre activity in the country would eat up to 75 per cent of growth in Irish power demand.

The Irish Independent reports that the amount of power needed to store emails, texts and other online data could rise seven-fold as Ireland chases inward investment from tech giants including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

“Large industrial connections normally do not dominate a country’s energy demand forecast but this is the case for Ireland at the moment,” the All-Island Generation Capacity Statement 2017-2026 says.

The situation has been further complicated by a fall in older conventional power plants, due to close over the same time frame. While more renewables are being added to the system, the newspaper reports that capacity in Dublin is ‘on a knife edge.’

Continued here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    They could always buy a few batterie$$$ 😉
    – – –
    Apple’s €850 million Irish data centre has finally been approved by Ireland’s top court
    Oct. 12, 2017

    5 Ireland Data Centre Projects Under Construction Worth $2bn
    10 November, 2016
    – – –
    “Clearly the potential connection of demand on this scale is equivalent to decades of national demand growth.”
    – EirGrid

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    DATA centers plus electric transportation! Where is all this energy going to come from? Undependable wind and solar? Inter-ties to other nations that depend on wind and solar? Batteries!????? Somebody else’s problem?
    Sooner or later someone with brains will realize that Nuclear Power is the only solution to providing dependable industrial levels of clean electric power for modern civilization. Nothing else will work. Lord knows they have tried everything else.
    Time to bit the bullet and get on with it. It does work and we know how to do it. Every mistake has been tried so it’s not like we are waiting for new technology to be developed. Just do it…pg

  3. ivan says:

    Eirgrid really are between a rock and a hard place. They need to urgently build several coal powered power plants to supply the required base load* but the EU demands that unreliables be used instead.

    *Base load appears to be something that the EU commission and most of the governments don’t understand.

  4. oldbrew says:

    ivan – they now say baseload is an obsolete idea :/

  5. ivan says:

    oldbrew, the know nothing academics and green hangers on don’t know what they are talking about and haven’t asked any power engineers, or in deed any engineers, what they think about that statement. In fact, I heard one say today that is what ‘smart meters’ are for – to even out the demand, what twaddle.

  6. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Let the Irish data centre operators be responsible for sourcing their own 24x7x365 power and see how they do it. I bet it won’t be solar panels or wind farms, with or without ‘batteries’.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Boy – they can contract to buy renewable power so it looks ‘green’ to the naive, but it comes out of the same grid as everyone else’s electricity.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    The Apple data center of the 80s in Napa, California had several large gas turbines for power generation. On power fail, the battery UPS kept things going long enough for turbine start.

    The datacenter I helped build for Sun Microsystems in Newark (90s) used gas driven cogeneration for combined heat and power. It also acted as backup power during blackouts even if the heat wasn’t needed.

    This kind of thing is common.

    So were I doing the design of any Irish data center, I would be designing in my own cogen site and planning about a 50% duty cycle. Don’t know EU rules on fuel cogen, but the preferred fuel here is natural gas with second best Diesel if gas pipelines not near. Caterpillar make a very nice genset that uses both. Primarily natural gas (using a little Diesel as a kind of spark plug) but able to go full Diesel if the gas supply fails (like in a quake rupture). Capstone Microtubine make a nice set in the 30 kW to several hundred kW scale in clusters. Runs on clean or dirty gas fuels and can be ruggedized for use in offshore oil rigs on waste gss. There are lots of others.

    So you design your own power system, but call it a cogenerator space heater and emergency backup, then tout your use of “clean renewables” that you only buy when over supplied and heavily discounted…

  9. oldbrew says:

    Has Ireland worked out that all this extra 24/7 usage electricity for data centres can never come 100% or even 50% from wind and solar due to intermittency, darkness, peak demand, lack of resources etc. etc.?

    Date: 22/10/17 The Sunday Times

    The Irish government circulated a fresh set of proposals aimed at weakening EU climate legislation last Monday. In a leaked paper dated October 16, which was circulated to other member states, Ireland argued against several proposals designed to ensure the EU meets its renewable energy and greenhouse gas goals for 2030.