I can assure the Deputy that IDA Ireland is sensitive to the potential environmental impact of all forms of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Data centres have taken major steps in recent years to reduce their carbon footprint and are now among the largest and most significant users of renewable energy. In 2018, IDA Ireland commissioned a report by Grant Thornton which examined the impact of data centres on the Irish economy. In addition to an overall economic contribution of €7.13bn since 2010, the report indicated that 85% of the data centres studied were already investing in power from renewable sources and 15% indicated that they were generating renewable energy onsite. Over 75% of data centre respondents were investing in two or more renewable energy initiatives, while over 60% were investing in energy efficient facilities and equipment.
In addition, IDA Ireland has taken steps to help its data centre and other clients to mitigate their carbon footprint. For example, in 2018 the Agency introduced its ‘Go Green’ Business Offer, which outlines the main national support programmes that are available to adopt green business principles, improve sustainability and drive energy efficiencies. These supports are provided by agencies including IDA Ireland, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The IDA's support programmes to reduce carbon emissions now include its Environmental Aid, Green Plus and Green Start programmes. These are being actively marketed across the Agency's client base, including to data centre operators.