Data centres and renewable energy

July 8, 2021

There are several facets to a data centre’s sustainability credentials but probably the primary one is the use of energy. This means that a fundamental input to the environmentally impact of a data centre is largely dependent on where that electricity comes from. This has led to the sector taking a closer look at what renewable energy can offer and how it can be utilised. At present, if a data center is grid-connected operators have two options. They can purchase offsets or contract energy from renewable sources to match the total energy consumption. While going someway to alleviate the problem neither is a perfect solution. There is however a third option and that is to deploy renewable sources of energy on the local grid providing power 24/7, so the data center will always consume renewables. This talk will consider all these options and highlight the path to a renewable energy future for data centres.

Sessions from this talk

This presentation will highlight how data center operators and the wider tech-sector are continuing to drive the shift to a sustainable energy future through procurement of renewable energy. We will explore what has- and continues-to motivate tech-sector companies to maintain their impactful actions, from pioneering transactions and staying ahead of the pack through transaction and target innovations. This talk is important for any tech-sector company seeking to understanding the latest motivators for peers to act, what the industry leaders are currently wrestling with, and that no company is walking alone when it comes to renewable energy procurement.
The information and communication technology industry carbon footprint is equivalent to the aviation footprint and keeps growing every year. This talk will describe the different efforts done by the industry to improve its energy efficiency, and the limitations of these efforts, focusing on the data centers which account for 20% of the footprint of the ICTI industry. It will then explain the importance of measurements and the choice of the proper metrics in order to take the right decisions. Finally, it will introduce the different types of products embedding servers from the classical data center rack to the Digital Heater and Digital Boiler of Qarnot Computing.
This session will explore the dirty green side of renewable energy, carbon credits and tracing electrons. While we all agree that the need for clean power is essential, we do not always agree on the means to get there and little has been done to examine the byproducts of a green environment. This session will investigate the various types of green energy, ways in which new configurations can maximise the usage and effectiveness supporting compute. We will also investigate some outside the box newer solutions that can contribute to our decreasing carbon footprint.
In an era of information technology, the ICT sector has expanded at a rate not experienced by any other sector in recent history and the Data Centre has come to represent an asset class emerged to underpin the wider Digital Economy. Data Centres with an appetite for power and using large grid connections for data processing and building cooling attract attention from the Environment and Social Governance community with requests for active management of electricity consumption and measures to limit the associated environmental impact. This presentation will explore the motivation and options for renewable power in the data sector.
As data centre companies aim to be net-zero by 2030, how will new technologies play a part of this transformation? Will they be net-zero, or buy net-zero? Solar, Wind and Hydro play a key part of the power for turning data centres green on the supply path. Further measures need to be taken internally in a facility to help reduce their production carbon footprint by using more efficient designs and equipment.

Speakers in this Session


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