The amount of electricity consumed by data centres was up 32 per cent in 2021, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.
According to the CSO, the increase between January to March 2015 and October to December 2021 was 265 per cent.
In 2021, large energy users, which includes data centres, IT and cement manufacturing, accounted for 23 per cent of the States total metered electricity consumption.
Consumption by large energy users increased by 17 per cent between 2020 and 2021 and by 80 per cent between 2015 and 2021.
The percentage of metered electricity consumed by data centres rose from five per cent in 2015 to 14 per cent in 2021.
This was an increase of 2,757 gigawatt hours between 2015 and 2021.
Electricity consumption by data centres increased by 32% in 2021https://t.co/loUovhliAV #CSOIreland #Ireland #Environment #Energy #EnvironmentalSubsidies #EnvironmentalAccounts #Climate #ElectricityConsumption #DataCentres pic.twitter.com/hCTsVfWMfOAdvertisement
— Central Statistics Office Ireland (@CSOIreland) May 3, 2022
Commenting on the figures, Niamh Shanahan, dtatistician in the Environment and Climate Division of the CSO, said: "The report shows the total metered electricity consumption by data centres by quarter for the period 2015 to 2021.
"Data centre consumption increased from 290 gigawatt hours in January to March 2015 to 1,058 GWh in October to December 2021.
"The increase in consumption was driven by a combination of existing data centres using more electricity and new data centres being added to the grid."
The increase electricity consumption by data centres has been a growing concern as it has been estimated that data centres could use up to 70 per cent of the country's electricity output by 2030 if all planning permissions for new centres go ahead.
In 2021, the national electricity grid operator, Eirgrid, warned that the State may face an electricity shortfall over the next five winters unless it boosts supply to meet an unusual surge in demand.
The operator identified data centres as the primary cause for the increase in demand.
Meanwhile, urban residential dwellings and rural dwellings accounted for 21 per cent and 12 per cent of electricity consumption respectively.
Dublin postal districts had the highest proportion of residential consumption in 2021 at 18 per cent, followed by Cork at 12 per cent, Dublin county at seven per cent, Galway with six per cent and Kildare with five per cent.