- This event has passed.
The next session of the Seminar on Digital Environmental Policies
organized by the Center for the Sociology of Innovation (CSI Mines Paris – PSL)
and the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) will be held on
Thursday, February 28, from 3 to 5 pm
Patrick Brodie (University Dublin College)
and the Data/Energy Nexus in Ireland’s Borderlands
Summary: In November 2020, a video surfaced on Twitter showing the earth moving underneath the feet of a local hillwalker. The video was documenting a massive peat landslide at the border between County Donegal (in the Republic of Ireland, ROI) and County Tyrone (in Northern Ireland, NI), which was caused by the construction of the 19-turbine Meenbog Wind Farm. The landslide destroyed a vast swathe of active peat bog and polluted a significant watershed which spanned both sides of the border, prompting governmental and legal action from agencies and organizations in ROI, NI, and the UK.
A key piece of the puzzle, however, was that the Meenbog Wind Farm had in 2019 sold all its future energy to global logistics and cloud giant Amazon Web Services to power its data center operations in Dublin, over 200km away from this wind farm site in rural Donegal. The data infrastructure company’s decarbonization efforts were transported along toxic fault lines of colonial partition, the imagined perpetual growth of data systems having unintended consequences at the still-contested border between ROI and NI. By analyzing data center and energy policy, public discourse around these infrastructural systems, and drawing upon site-specific fieldwork, this presentation will confront the territorial re-organization of political and environmental relations through emerging renewable energy and data entanglements. Engaging with vibrant discourses of “green extractivism” during the transition to renewable energy, the talk will approach the region of Ireland where the peatslide occurred as a site of generative friction concerning what present and future extractive energy and data supply chains will look like, who will bear their burdens, and who will have agency in shaping them.