Electricity consumption by data centres increased by 144% between 2015 and 2020. The increase between January to March 2015 and October to December 2020 was 193%.
The percentage of metered electricity consumed by data centres rose from 5% in 2015 to 11% in 2020. This was an increase of 1,783 Gigawatt hours between 2015 and 2020.
Total metered electricity consumption increased by 10% or 2,456 Gigawatt hours between 2015 and 2020.
Quarterly metered electricity consumption by data centres increased steadily from 290 Gigawatt hours in the first quarter of 2015 to 849 Gigawatt hours in the fourth quarter of 2020 (see Table 2 and Figure 2).
CSO Definition of a Data Centre
The CSO used various approaches to identify data centres: searching for names and aliases of known data centres; examining customers with high consumption located in specific business parks; and checking the customer names of all meters with a high annual consumption. Reports produced by other organisations, the CSO Business Register, and internet searches were also used.
|Table 1 Metered Electricity Consumption 2020|
|Gigawatt hours||% of Total|
|Year||Data Centre||Other Metered Customers||Total||% Data Centre|
|% Consumption by Data Centres|
|Table 2 Data Centres Metered Electricity Consumption by Quarter 2020|
|X-axis label||Data Centres Consumption|
Go to: Background Notes
Niamh Shanahan, Statistician in the Environment and Climate Division of the CSO, noted that: "This is the first time the CSO has published figures on electricity consumption by data centres. The report shows the total metered electricity consumption by data centres by quarter for the period 2015 to 2020. Data centre consumption increased from 290 Gigawatt hours in January to March 2015 to 849 GWh in October to December 2020. Figure 2 shows a steady increase from quarter to quarter. 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 CSO published an additional new release today showing total metered electricity consumption. The percentage of total metered electricity consumption accounted for by data centres increased from 5% in 2015 to 11% in 2020.
Electricity customers with very high consumption accounted for 21% of total metered consumption in 2020."