Data centres to consume one third of State’s electricity by 2026

New report from IEA expects increases in global electricity demand to be more than covered by renewables

Data centres will consume one third of the State’s total electricity by 2026, according to the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The prediction comes as the agency sees global electricity demand from data centres, cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence potentially more than doubling over the next three years, adding the equivalent of Germany’s entire power needs.

There are more than 8,000 data centres globally, with about 33 per cent in the US, 16 per cent in Europe and close to 10 per cent in China, with more planned. In the Republic, where data centres have developed rapidly, the IEA expects the sector to consume 32 per cent of total electricity by 2026 compared to 17 per cent in 2022. The State currently has 82 centres; 14 are under construction and 40 more are approved.

Overall global electricity demand is expected to see a 3.4 per cent increase until 2026, the report found. The increase, however, will be more than covered by renewables, such as wind, solar and hydro, and all-time high nuclear power.

The IEA is a Paris-based intergovernmental organisation.


Low-emissions sources are expected to account for almost half of the world’s electricity generation by 2026, up from under 40 per cent in 2023, the report found. This includes 9 million battery electric vehicles and 11 million heat pumps in Europe.

“The power sector currently produces more CO2 emissions than any other in the world economy, so it’s encouraging that the rapid growth of renewables and a steady expansion of nuclear power are together on course to match all the increase in global electricity demand over the next three years,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

The global intensity of emissions from power generation – or the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of energy – is expected to decline by an average of about 3.5 per cent a year through 2026, the IEA said. For Europe, more intense decarbonisation efforts mean that decline is expected to be 13 per cent per year. – Bloomberg