Proposed new data centers for Amazon and Microsoft in Ireland have been blocked amid concerns surrounding power shortages and supplies.
Amazon had been looking to invest up to €2 billion in a bid to expand its data center operations in Ireland, which has become a key location for data handling facilities due to its proximity to Europe and North America.
However, The Times has now reported that a moratorium on new connections by EirGrid, the country's state-owned electricity system operator, means the move is now on hold, with one planned Amazon Web Services site and two planned Microsoft sites affected.
Data center power
The move comes as Ireland, like much of Europe, worries about its power pipeline due to knock-on effects from the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Data centers use up an incredible amount of power, with Ireland’s utilities regulator warning in 2021 that rolling blackouts could soon be likely if issues were not fixed.
No new data centers have been authorized by EirGrid since it issued the moratorium last November, a spokesperson told The Times.
“EirGrid is now applying these criteria to all data center applicants, many of which have decided not to progress their developments,” the spokesperson said.
Microsoft and Amazon have yet to comment on the news, but the former is apparently now exploring alternative locations in the UK, Spain and Germany, with the latter also reportedly looking to move focus outside of Ireland.
The building of new data centers is becoming a difficult issue across the world due to demands on power infrastructure.
It was recently revealed developers in some parts of London could face a ban on new developments until 2035 due to data centers gobbling up too much of the power grid capacity.
Worries about extreme weather have also emerged in recent weeks after UK data centers belonging to Google Cloud and Oracle were taken out of action by the 40C (104F) heatwave weather.
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