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Microsoft is being forced to build its own powerstation in Dublin for its data centres because the local electricity grid can’t cope, according to The Irish Independent.
The US tech giant is planning to install 16 gas-powered generators at a site in Clondalkin, which lies just west of Dublin’s city centre.
The power plant is designed to provide 18 megawatts of electricity to one vast Microsoft data centre – that’s enough to power 18,000 homes, The Irish Independent reports.
Data centres are the backbone of the internet. They often contain thousands of power-hungry servers that allow consumers worldwide to stream videos and music, search the internet, and send emails. Around 2% of global greenhouse emissions are produced by data centres, which is about the same amount as air travel.
Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other US tech firms have also built data centres on the outskirts of Dublin.
One particular hotspot is The Grange Castle Business Park, where there are four Microsoft data centres and an unknown number of Google data centres. The data centres have been set up relatively quickly and the local electricity network has been unable to keep up.
Microsoft gained planning permission to build four more data centres at Grange Castle last year, according to The Irish Independent. The data centres are likely to cost Microsoft around €900 million (£794 million).
Electricity demand has reportedly exceeded supply because the local transmission network hasn’t been upgraded quickly enough.
Government-backed EirGrid, the company that oversees Ireland’s electricity transmission network, warned that there might be a shortfall in electricity in Dublin prior to “huge” upgrade, which is set to begin in the next few weeks. The “West Dublin Project”, as it is known, is set to complete in 2019.
“Space at Grange Castle Business Park is in high demand from international business customers,” an EirGrid spokesman told the Irish Independent. “To accommodate this growth, further power is required to meet both current electricity needs and to plan for future electricity demand.”
Microsoft did not immediately require to Business Insider’s request for comment.