Microsoft and Amazon reportedly halt plans to build data centers in Ireland

Power shortages and looming blackouts in Ireland likely mean no new data centers from Microsoft and Amazon. The times reported that a moratorium on new connections by Ireland’s state-owned electricity company EirGrid means a planned €2 billion data center expansion by the tech giants is on hold. The country’s existing data centers have already put a strain on the country’s electricity supply, prompting Ireland’s utility regulator last year to issue a warning that rolling blackouts are likely if the problem is not resolved. A proposed Amazon Web Services site and two proposed Microsoft sites (including one intended to provide backup power for Irish wind farms) were not licensed by EirGrid to connect to the Irish grid.

A spokesman for EirGrid said that Times that Ireland has not approved any new data centers since it imposed a moratorium on new connections to its electricity grid last November. “EirGrid now applies these criteria to all data center applicants, many of whom have chosen not to pursue their developments,” a spokesman said.

A source also told the times that Amazon is building its data center in London instead. Meanwhile, Microsoft is reviewing alternative locations in London, Frankfurt and Madrid.

The times verified text messages between Microsoft’s Head of Public Policy in Ireland and IDA Ireland (the government agency responsible for foreign investment) indicating that Microsoft is aware that it will be affected by the moratorium. At one point, the company was reportedly assured that the policy would not affect its planned sites. “Despite all the assurances, it still looks like a moratorium on DCs [data centres] in the GDA [greater Dublin area]’ Microsoft’s Ciaran Conlon wrote to IDA officials.

Data centers consume enormous amounts of electricity, which has caused limitations in power grids around the world. Officials have even suspended construction of new homes in west London until 2035 because data centers have already drained power capacity, they reported data center dynamics. Loudon County, Virginia, home to the world’s largest concentration of data centers, is delaying new projects due to power constraints.

Engadget has reached out to both Microsoft and Amazon for comment The times‘ Reporting and will be updated when we receive feedback.

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Russell Falcon

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