The addition of TikTok to a number of tech companies creating storage hubs in Ireland poses an increased carbon footprint, affecting the country’s energy consumption altogether.
Early August 2020, the social media giant announced a $500 million investment in Ireland, opening up its first European data center. Doing so extends their presence in the region, as it faces a potential threat from being wiped out of the United States.
According to reports, the move to open a European data center was finalized following ByteDance’s decision to move its headquarters overseas. The parent company considers London as a good location for its headquarters as a British media report said so.
Despite the good news on the possibilities of creating more jobs in Ireland and becoming a Big Tech hub for companies, climate ambitions were considered roadblocks. As big tech companies build massive data centers, they also use a massive amount of energy.
Irish grid operator EirGrid reported that some giant data centers use as much energy compared to the entire towns, put together. The data centers alone could account for nearly 30 percent of Ireland’s overall energy consumption, which is alarming.
Because these data centers operate 24/7, racks of servers and cooling systems take up massive energy. This energy relies on on-site gas plants, which burn fossil fuels to fill the gap of energy shortage in the local electrical grid.
TikTok’s data center in Ireland is said to be fully operational in 2022. Although it’s a long-term economy booster, energy experts express concerns over the booming energy requirements to maintain the operations.
Meanwhile, Chinese social media giant claims putting up a data center will ‘safeguard and protect’ the date of users, and create hundreds of new jobs.
Inward foreign direct investment agency IDA welcomes the social media giant saying, “TikTok’s decision to establish its first European data center in Ireland, represent a substantial investment here by the company, is very welcome.”
Aside from TikTok, other tech giants also have data centers in Ireland. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon operate massive server halls to handle its waves of data in the European region.
With massive data centers operating in one region, Ireland is pressured to look for more renewable energy options. Amazon and Facebook took part in preserving the environment, inked a deal with wind farmers in Ireland.
Authorities in Ireland claim to create more renewable energy on the grid by 2030.