Ireland’s Economy Buoyed by Data Centre Industry in 2020

Date: 24 Nov 2020

A new biannual report from Host in Ireland, in association with Bitpower, features the essential economic role data centres are playing during the pandemic thanks to €117B in computer service exports in the first half of 2020. Recent research from ESRI shows these exports, of which data centres are the critical backbone infrastructure, account for 26% of all of Ireland’s export activity this year. While exports fell dramatically for the vast majority of Ireland’s economic sectors – transport, tourism, retail, etc. – computer services, pharmaceuticals and medicinal products have had strong enough performances to buoy the Irish export economy as a whole.

The importance of data centres in our day-to-day lives continues to be a key factor as global lockdowns sustain the rapid shift to an online world to learn, work and entertain ourselves. While many industries have struggled, the effect of COVID-19 on development within the industry has been minimal. This is attributed to continued investment from global organisations, high high rates of activity from third party developers, and established data centre clusters continuing to grow. This activity is expected to account for €1.25 billion of investment in 2020.

Additional key elements of the report include:

  • The energy related carbon emission metric introduced last spring continues to show data centre carbon emissions remaining at 1.58% of Ireland’s total emissions.
  • A new business sentiment rating shows 96% of data centre ecosystem companies are optimistic about business for the upcoming 12 months.
  • There are 66 data centres now operational, planned or under construction in Ireland.

“As we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic, data centres and their workers have been essential to keeping Ireland online and the economy functioning. The sense of pride and purpose from the industry is rewarding, but validation of the significant economic impact data centres have had during this economic downturn is invaluable,” said Garry Connolly, president and founder of Host in Ireland. “Future export opportunities look to grow even further when we take into account green electricity as a more valuable export asset in the form of data.”


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