Ireland’s electricity generating capacity ‘could deter’ foreign direct investment

By John Mulligan Twitter Email

Concerns about Ireland’s electricity generating capacity could deter multinationals from making investments in infrastructure such as data centres in Ireland. That warning comes from Dave Murphy, the chief executive of Irish construction project delivery firm PM Group.

For the data centre sector, for any multinational investing in Ireland, they look immediately in terms of sites, at the availability of power, the availability of water and the availability of very robust data connections,” said Mr Murphy.

“We know that within Ireland there’s a shortage of electrical power – it’s been well documented over recent months – so I’m sure it will factor into the thinking, probably in the short to medium term, until that’s resolved.”

Ireland is home to major data centres for multinationals including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. But there have been increasing concerns that Ireland might struggle to generate sufficient power to meet demand during the winter. A number of amber alerts have occurred in recent weeks, where electricity generators have been warned that any unexpected event could result in a failure to meet demand.

EirGrid, the semi-State company that manages Ireland’s electricity grid, has said maintaining the balance between supply and demand has become “increasingly challenging” due to several factors.

PM Group works on construction projects around the world for a range of blue-chip clients in sectors including pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, medical devices and technology.

“Data centre construction is one of the areas in which it is active.

“Everything we use in our everyday lives, from all of the technology we use in the workplace to all of the technology we use in the home, is supported by the cloud and technology which requires data centres,” said Mr Murphy.

“For the clients we work for, energy is a major concern. They tend to locate in areas where there is very reliable energy supply and they’re looking to buy green energy. The cloud is actually quite an efficient way to manage that energy.

“If it wasn’t in the cloud, data would be on lots and lots of servers distributed all around the workplaces and in homes.”

Last week, PM Group reported record results. Its operating profit surged 30pc to €34.8m. 

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