- Microsoft has applied for building a hyper-scale gas power plant to cover its power demand for data center campuses in Ireland.
- The giant tech company has planned to build a 170-megawatt (MW) on-site power plant alongside 21 diesel generators as a part of its data center development in the region.
- Earlier this year, Irish power departments introduced a forced moratorium for data centers due to increasing power demand by data center operators jeopardizing Ireland’s energy and climate security.
The Irish newspaper Business Post has revealed that Microsoft is going to build a massive gas power plant to meet its power needs for Microsoft campuses in Ireland as part of its data center development.
170-megawatt private power plant
Apparently, the concerns about constraints on Ireland’s energy grid led to take action by the tech giant to build its private power plant. Microsoft applied for the construction of a 170-megawatt (MW) on-site power plant alongside 21 diesel generators in a bid to offset the high-energy demand from the facilities. The tech giant expects the gas plant to run eight hours a day and 365 days a year.
The company’s new strategy comes nearly a year after the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and EirGrid were forced to introduce a moratorium on new data centers in the greater Dublin region until at least 2028. The policy aimed to limit the power capacity for data center development. At that time, EirGrid stated that the power network is struggling to meet requirements in the data centers area which resulted in the restricting of new power contracts for data centers in the region. Currently, the organization reviews new applications for connection to the grid on a case-by-case to limit their impact.
Ireland intends to build the longer-term bases for a net zero-ready economy by setting new principles. Increasing power demand from the likes of data centers is risking Ireland’s energy and climate security. Therefore Microsoft’s new plan was instantly faced with some criticism from the community. People Before Profit councilor Madeleine Johansson who proposed a ban on new data centers this year has said to Dublin People;
« The plan by Microsoft to build a private gas power plant is not the solution to the data center problem. While it doesn’t add to the congestion of the national electricity grid it will contribute to Ireland’s carbon emissions. The plan for a private gas power plant is clearly a way for Microsoft to circumvent the new stricter criteria for data centers in the Dublin Region. But if we continue to allow more data centers to be built we won’t be able to cut down our carbon emissions and will ultimately face fines from the European Union. It is not acceptable that the taxpayer will have to pay fines for the irresponsible emissions of large corporations. This is one of the reasons why I proposed an effective ban on data centers in South Dublin until 2028, a ban which the Minister for Local Government overturned last month. »
Microsoft aims to operate the power station for its DUB 14 and DUB 15 data centers in the Grange Castle Business Park, Clondalkin. The power station is a part of a new €900 million data center development in Dublin and is likely to add at least €100m to the cost of the project. With this new data center project, Microsoft will expand its data center number to 15 in Ireland.