As we move into a new decade it’s clear that the next 10 years will be full of both challenges and opportunities. Not only do we need to transition towards zero-carbon digital infrastructure we need to make sure that both existing and new assets are ‘Climate Resilient’.
According to CDP the 215 biggest global companies have reported report almost US$1 trillion at risk from climate impacts, with many likely to hit within the next 5 years. This combined with a potential US$250 billion in losses due to the write-offs ofassets puts into perspective one side of the economic impact of climate change.
On the other side of the equation, they also forecast the potential value of sustainable business opportunities almost 7x the cost of realizing them (US$311bn in costs, US$2.1 trillion in opportunities).
When you look at this from a Digital Infrastructure perspective it makes good business sense for our sector to consider future-proofing new assets while at the same time ensuring both their embedded and operational carbon are minimised.
Both of these are difficult when the industry is growing at such a tremendous pace that meeting immediate demand is a challenge in its own right.
It’s imperative that the Digital Infrastructure Industry (along with all others) breaks the back on the dependency we have on fossil fuels, but there is no reason why data centres are not directly procuring renewable energy, or incrementally funding renewable energy investments and pioneering new approaches to onsite power generation.
To do this effectively will take a more close alignment with other segments including right-sizing data centres energy consumption with grid capacity and availability and ensuring that the network, power and compute are aligned.
On a positive note, the technology, knowledge and know-how either exists or is under development to enable us to make this transition while safeguarding our digital infrastructure assets, but we have to act decisively and quickly and the handful of companies consuming the majority of the existing and new digital infrastructure capacity have to get behind this huge task.
These are some of the thought processes that will be explored in both the Digital Infra Network and the Digital Infra Conference Series.
If you have any ideas or projects that you are working on that can accelerate this process please contribute them here.