Amazon and Microsoft give up their data centers in Ireland… for lack of electricity

While the world’s two largest cloud service providers were preparing to set up data centers in Ireland, they will probably have to give up on their project. In question, the energy crisis.

© Taylor Vick/Unsplash

With a budget of nearly 2 billion euros, the two American giants wanted to strengthen their presence in Europe. While Amazon was planning a center to power its Amazon Web Services service in Ireland, Microsoft was set to operate two data centers in the country. 

Data centers consume too much in Ireland

In 2021, EirGrid, the public electricity transmission operator in Ireland, warned that Dublin was at risk of blackouts due to excessive demand for power, particularly from data centers already existing in the country and led by the cloud giants. If this demand did not decrease, it was therefore likely that several widespread blackouts would occur. In the same year, the Irish Utilities Regulatory Commission (CRU) called data centers the “  main homogeneous demand driver ” on the network.

The problem, Ireland still encounters difficulties in this area. The authorities have therefore decided not to grant access to electricity to any new data centers, putting an end to the plans of Amazon and Microsoft, which had previously obtained government approval to install their centers in the country. As ZDNet reports, Amazon is currently building a data center in London. For its part, Microsoft is interested in several options on the Old Continent, namely London, Madrid, and Frankfurt.

The country is preparing for an energy shortage

Like the rest of Europe, Ireland faces an energy shortage. EirGrid has also planned shortfalls for the winters of 2023 and 2024. In June, the government approved emergency production of 450 MW to cover these periods. 

In this context, the colossal energy needs of data centers, solely for cooling them, raises questions. Especially since the tech giants are usually quite discreet about it and refuse to share a lot of information. 

In addition to electricity, data centers are also very water-intensive, which is particularly problematic when many droughts are currently recorded in the world.

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