Skip to main content

Different scenarios, same goal

Countries across the world have always had unique energy needs. However, in recent years due to factors like climate change, many countries have adopted common goals. The EU2030 goals and Paris agreement for example, which has over 195 signatories across the world including parts of Africa, aims to reduce carbon emissions through integration of renewable energy but how appropriate are these goals and where is the money to reach them supposed to come from?

Everyone has a right to electricity

Global demand for energy is constantly increasing due to population. When a small town sprouts up in a rural area, there is a basic need of energy to power homes and businesses but in some cases, if a town is located at such a distance from the production plant that the power sent through a transmission line may simply not be of a good enough quality for general use. A more economically viable solution may be to just send a gigantic battery instead of the large investment needed to build a new power line. In similar fashion, areas best suited for renewable development such as wind and solar in many cases reside in areas that are windswept or experience drought, meaning massive investment is needed to make the area suitable for development. In Irelands case, the next step is to build wind farms offshore as on land sites become scarce.

Driving Up Demand

When speaking with Professor Andrew Keane of UCD’s energy institute and Associate Professor Terence O’Donnell, both mentioned in separate conversations that data centres are key factors driving up energy demand. In Ireland for example, data centre development in Ireland will add 1.5 million tonnes to our carbon emissions by 2030, according to a recent analysis conducted by Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE), with 16 centres introduced in 2018 and a further 28 in development. It is not unrealistic that data centre energy demand is expected to be approximately 31% of national energy demand by 2027. This scenario even considers Irelands’ ambition of reaching 70% energy production through renewable sources. Ireland should serve as a warning for other countries still getting connected. Only 40% of Africa’s population has access to the internet. 

Striking a Balance

The ideal future contains a balance between essential infrastructure and innovation. Infrastructure alone will not solve the issue of rising energy demand; smart solutions are needed to meet rising demand. The question remains, how are these plans going to be funded? Ultimately, the consumer will foot the bill. Fortunately, Smartwires and other solutions like us will be here to make sure that money is put to good use.

This blog is written by Ryan Davies. Any questions – email

Circular Economy
Mary Cronin
Author: Mary Cronin
November 14, 2019
Mary is an innovation specialist, systems thinker and circular economy facilitator. As the founder of UpThink Innovation Agency, Mary works with SMEs and large organisations as a circular economy/climate change/ESG consultant.