There has been a significant increase in the amount of electricity consumed by data centres in Ireland.

According to new figures from the Central Statistics Office, there was a 32.3% increase in electricity consumed by data centres in 2021 compared to 2020.

The CSO attributes this to both more data centres being added to the grid and existing data centres using more electricity.

On a quarterly basis, the amount of electricity consumed by data centres between October to December 2021 has risen by 265% compared to January to March 2015.

The total amount of electricity consumed rose by 5.4% last year. This has risen by 16% since 2015.

Data centres accounted for 14% of all metered electricity consumed last year. In 2015, the corresponding figure was 5%.

Large users, which include data centres, accounted for 23% of energy consumed in 2021. Their consumption grew by 17% in 2021. It has risen by 80% since 2015, today's CSO figures show.

Non-residential consumption of electricity accounted for 67% of power used in 2021 with urban residential users accounting for 21% and rural residential users accounting for 12%.

Last year, Eirgrid predicted that by the end of this decade, large users could account for 27% of electricity consumed.

Eirgrid has recently placed a moratorium on plans for new data centres in the Dublin area as it seeks to spread their energy demands to different parts of the grid.

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According to Eirgrid, there are currently 12 large data centres connected to the grid. These are centres with a power requirement of greater than 10 megawatts.

The total demand at any given time from these centres is just over 500 megawatts.

Industry sources put the total number of data centres - of all sizes - currently in operation in Ireland at 70.