US hyperscalers are pushing the Irish government to allow them to build their own private power lines connecting data centers to renewable energy projects.

First reported by the Business Post, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have urged the state to allow them to connect their data centers directly to solar and wind farms.

AWS Fingal Dublin.png
AWS' Fingal campus in Dublin – Google Maps

The companies have reportedly claimed the move would ease ongoing grid capacity pressures in Dublin, where there is currently a moratorium on new grid connections for data centers.

At present, only the state-owned Electricity Supply Board (ESB) can build power lines to connect properties to the grid.

The three hyperscalers are among the businesses claiming they should be given permission to build their own “private wires” to connect directly to solar and wind farms, arguing that they would be able to build them quicker and more cheaply.

After launching a public consultation last year, the Irish government has promised to publish a policy on private wires in the last quarter of 2024; it may consider easing restrictions on who can build power lines.

Ireland has had a defacto moratorium on data center developments in the greater Dublin area with power operator EirGrid saying it would not accept any applications until 2028.

Companies have been seeking alternative options within the area – including connections to the country’s gas network and running data centers off on-site gas power plants.

In the UK, energy firm Octopus is reportedly set to put up its own pylons to help expand the local electricity network. The provider has been in talks with the regulator Ofgem over plans to end the National Grid's monopoly in the electricity network in England and Wales.