Data centres pose a “serious threat” to Ireland’s ability to meet its emissions targets, according to Sinn Féin.
As agriculture continues to come under extreme scrutiny for its impact on the environment, increasing attention is being drawn to other sectors that are “trying to greenwash their image by publicising investments in wind farms”.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on climate justice Lynn Boylan has said that the government’s strategy for data centres must change.
The senator added that planning regulations “must be updated, so that An Bord Pleanála and local authorities can take into consideration the cumulative environmental impact of these developments”.
‘Data centres pose a serious threat to our ability to meet our emissions targets’
She said international companies are “trying to greenwash their image by publicising investments in wind farms”, however, “they remain tight-lipped about the fact that they also build fossil fuel-based electricity generators for their data centres”.
“Data centres pose a serious threat to our ability to meet our emissions targets,” Boylan continued.
“We have to ask ourselves is the planning system fit for purpose if we continue to allow the proliferation of data centres when there is a climate crisis?
“We need to change the planning regulations so that An Bord Pleanála and local authorities can take into consideration the cumulative impact of this type of development.”
‘Communities end up having to take in these imposing wind farms for no good reason’
Recently, AgriLand spoke with a member of a community that is fighting against “having to take in these enormous, imposing wind farms for no good reason” to supply data centres.
Daryl Kennedy, spokesperson for the Delvin Raharney Ballivor Wind Action Group in Co. Westmeath said that if the community knew a wind farm was going to have a measurable impact on its carbon emissions, then it would support it – “but we’re taking in something which is only to meet a completely displaced demand for data centres”.
“Our electricity demand goes up, data centres want to claim green credentials and the easiest thing to go with is wind – even though you couldn’t possibly run a data centre on wind energy because it’s too intermittent.”
“So, you’d end up with this enormous increase in demand for renewables which, at the end of the day, is probably pointless.
“We end up with massive increases in wind farms and so, rural communities like ourselves here in Co. Westmeath and many other communities end up having to take in these enormous, imposing wind farms for no good reason.”
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