How the tide turned on data centres in Europe

Posted: September 14, 2022 by oldbrew in data, Energy, Politics
Tags: ,

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

Internet rationing ahead? If renewables were so great and so cheap the data centres could provide their own electricity.
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Every time we make a call on Zoom, upload a document to the cloud or stream a video, our computers connect to vast warehouses filled with servers to store or access data, says TechXplore.

Not so long ago, European countries were falling over each other to welcome the firms that run these warehouses, known as data centers or bit barns.

Wide-eyed politicians trumpeted investments and dreamt of creating global tech hubs.

But then the dream went sour.

The sheer amount of energy and water needed to power and cool these server farms shocked the public.

The industry sucked up 14 percent of Ireland’s power last year, London warned home builders that power shortages caused by bit barns could affect new projects, and Amsterdam said it simply had no more room for the warehouses.

Then things got worse.

The war in Ukraine helped spark an energy crisis across the continent, leaving consumers facing rocketing bills and countries contemplating energy shortages.

“Data centers will be a target,” critical blogger Dwayne Monroe told AFP, saying the focus would only grow if Europe cannot fix its energy crisis.

Grassroots campaigns and local opposition have already helped to halt projects this year by Amazon in France, Google in Luxembourg and Meta in the Netherlands.

The Irish government, while reaffirming support for the industry, put strict limits on new developments until 2028.

The data industry says it feels unfairly targeted, stressing its efforts to source green energy and arguing that outsourcing storage to bit barns has helped slash consumption.

‘Veil of shadow’

These arguments are playing out most spectacularly in Ireland.

Activists are campaigning on a broad range of topics and using local forums to push their case.

“They take up a huge amount of space but provide basically no employment,” says Madeleine Johansson, a Dublin councilor for the People Before Profit party, which is campaigning on the issue.

Full article here.

  1. […] How the tide turned on data centres in Europe | Tallbloke’s Talkshop ( […]

  2. Saighdear says:

    Teatime again, One could write a pamphlet on this subject: All about Me myself and me( not I ) and living for today. THe Cloud, forgotten my password and w hich account was it again, in t he name of anonymity, etc etc … so many accounts gave up so so much is floating around burning coalories ( Hah! typo – but I’ll leave it), and I manage just fine with my HDDs and a good search engine with it.Can’t take it all with me anyway and as for sharing ? I ‘m sick fed up eating all the shared cake I get – not all to my liking and in a way similarto the tat stocking-fillers at Christmas – just ends up going back to china/landfill. could do without.
    Saw a great Teeshirt today: Want Less, Give more, work harder, … and I got the message – seems others just can’t read – maybe I could ‘cos it was carried by a lovely young lady! – but the world doesn’t work like that …. Pay less, get more etc.
    Coffee’s cold now.

  3. Gamecock says:

    ‘says Madeleine Johansson, a Dublin councilor for the People Before Profit party’

    Full stop. No need to read further.

  4. Gamecock says:

    ‘If renewables were so great and so cheap the data centres could provide their own electricity.’

    Apple wants you to think they do.

    Out front of their Maiden, NC, data farm, is a nice big solar farm.

    Back in the trees behind the buildings are 2 substations with high tension wires coming in. The lines from the solar farm go south, AWAY from the data center.

    I have designed data centers. The idea that you could power one with solar is hilarious. But I’m sure the solar farm out front convinces most people.

  5. Philip Mulholland says:

    “They take up a huge amount of space but provide basically no employment,”

    I think that comment by Madeleine Johansson can also be applied to wind energy collection farms and to solar energy collection farms.

    Green Energy is not a source of power it is simply just an expensive and wasteful means of collecting low quality energy.

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