Siemens forges green energy deal to power Irish data centres

15 Mar 2018

From left: CES Energy director Brendan Marren with Siemens Ireland CEO Gary O’Callaghan. Image: Keith Arkins

Siemens and CES Energy partnership will provide on-site electrical generation for data centres.

Industrial giant Siemens has joined forces with Irish renewable energy player CES Energy to provide on-site electrical generation services for tech multinationals locating their data centres in Ireland.

Ireland is an ideal location for data centres, offering a cool climate, data cable links to the US, and a pro-business approach to issues such as data protection and intellectual property.

‘When you make and manage your own energy, costs are predictable’

However, data centre energy supply remains challenging as the pace of development is overtaking the already ambitious grid development plans in Ireland.

As such, this could hinder Government efforts to establish Ireland as the data capital of Europe.

According to Gary O’Callaghan, chief executive of Siemens in Ireland, on-site generation has many benefits for data centre operators, offering a reliable power supply to to meet data centre timeframes, as well as the reduction of costs and carbon footprint.

“The changing energy landscape is providing new opportunities for the data centre sector,” O’Callaghan explained.

“With the joint expertise of Siemens and CES Energy, tech companies now have the option of self-sufficiency in power generation. When you make and manage your own energy, costs are predictable, you have a direct impact on your sustainability and you’re not constrained by grid availability.”

Option of channelling energy to the community

Additionally, combining heat recovery with renewable options such as solar or biogas ensures that on-site generation assists the country in reaching its emissions targets while providing a key sector in Ireland with the critical energy it needs.

On-site generation also offers the opportunity to channel excess heat and power into local Irish communities to power homes and businesses, an energy-efficient practice adopted by Scandinavian countries.

In Stockholm, for example, under a bold new partnership between the city of Stockholm, Fortum Värme, Ellevio, Stokab and Invest Stockholm, excess heat generated by data centres will be funnelled back into a heatsink that can then be distributed to the city’s municipal heating system.

In this way, a data centre with 10MW capacity can heat around 20,000 modern residential apartments.

“On-site generation is key to meeting the future energy demands of these power-hungry data hubs, while delivering on Ireland’s carbon footprint commitments,” explained Brendan Marren, director of CES Energy.

“The availability of more efficient-energy solutions rests alongside other long-term strategic planning that is key to sustainability if Ireland is to lead the way. Ultimately, Ireland has to meet tough EU requirements on carbon emissions.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years