The future of more than 30 proposed data centers in Ireland is unclear, following moves by national regulators to reduce pressure on the grid.

The Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) has told national grid manager EirGrid and ESB Networks to prioritize applications for data centers in regions where power supplies are not struggling.

Power grid
– Sebastian Moss

The Irish Times reports that Eirgrid is concerned that this would mean it could not approve grid access for more than 30 data centers.

The majority of the facilities are in the Dublin area, which is under significant power supply constraints. Eirgrid has agreed to connect 1,800MW of data centers, but has applications for another 2,000MW.

Eirgrid spokesperson David Martin told The Irish Times that the CRU had begun a consultation on the issue. “The outcome of this consultation will provide clarity to Eirgrid and the data center industry on next steps in terms of the future facilitation of data centers on the electricity system,” he said.

“We look forward to processing connection applications for data centers in line with the resulting policy once the outcome of this consultation is determined by CRU.”

The impact of data centers on the Irish grid has been a point of contention for years, with the industry on track to use 27 percent of the nation's power output by 2029, up from 11 percent last year.

In March, EirGrid said it might require new energy-demanding projects such as data centers to be built near to renewable energy sources.

“There is growing alarm at the spread of data centers, what they are doing to our hopes of reaching the Paris Agreement targets, as well as our climate goals, and whether an economic policy based on the unlimited growth of data centers is compatible with any chance of tackling a climate catastrophe,” politician Bríd Smith said earlier that month.

“This is getting out of control.”