Nov 30, 2022
Ireland has long been a popular destination for data hosting, thanks to its stable political environment, highly skilled workforce, and abundant renewable energy resources. However, in recent years, the country has faced a number of challenges, including rising energy costs and an effective moratorium on new data centre projects in certain parts of the country.
As a result, Ireland's position as a global data hub is under threat. In 2022, Ireland ranked 10th on the Financial Times' Global Locational Footprint Index (FLAPD), down from 6th in 2021.
So, what next for Ireland?
There are a number of things that Ireland can do to remain a global player in data hosting. These include:
Investing in renewable energy: Ireland has abundant renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, and hydro. By investing in these resources, Ireland can reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and lower its energy costs.
Developing new data center technologies: Ireland is home to a number of data centre technology companies. These companies are developing new technologies that can help data centers to be more efficient and sustainable.
Working with the data center industry: The Irish government and the data center industry need to work together to address the challenges facing the industry. This includes finding ways to reduce energy costs and develop new data center technologies.
If Ireland can take these steps, it can remain a global player in data hosting.
Will Ireland lose its place in the FLAPD list?
It is possible that Ireland could lose its place in the so-called ‘FLAPD’ list in the future (FLAPD refers to the flagship hosting cities of Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin). The listing is based on a number of factors, including the availability of skilled labour, the cost of doing business, and the political stability (or poloicy certainty) of a country.
If Ireland's energy costs continue to rise and certainty in relation to its policy on data centre development and operation declines, it could lose its place in the list of preferred cities for investors, developers and operators leading to a loss in opportunity for inward investment and job creation.
Are the gas and electricity moratoriums short-sighted and ill-advised?
In our view, yes. These moratoriums will make it more difficult for Ireland to attract new data centre projects, which will lead to job losses and a loss of tax revenue.
The moratoriums are unnecessary. There are many ways to make data centres more sustainable, using renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
The Irish authorities should lift the gas and electricity moratoriums and work with the data centre and supporting industries to make Ireland a more sustainable data hosting destination.