European Data Strategy and Green Deal

May 20, 2021
10:00

The European Green Deal aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. A smarter and greener use of digital technologies are a key part in making sure Europe reaches its ambitious goal. While the global data volume will keep growing rapidly there is a need for infrastructures to be eco-friendly. The plan is to make Europe the epicentre of green technology. Technical solutions include more efficient cooling systems, heat reuse, the use of renewable energy to supply data centres, and the construction of data centres in regions with a cold climate. Policy options include the use of Green Public Procurement, rules for Europe’s public authorities to use their purchasing power to choose environmentally friendly services but also setting up transparency requirements and fostering uniform indicators for energy-efficiency.

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When temperatures skyrocket, and global warming is forcing us to question the techniques ordinarily used to cool data centers, as they are responsible for a significant part of the digital economy’s energy consumption. With the adoption of the cloud, the world’s IT is shifting on masse to data centers and cloud providers. Data centers are mission-critical infrastructure, meaning that the slightest weakness can have disastrous consequences, and a direct impact on our economy. However, many data centers have not evolved to keep up with the digital evolution we have seen over the last 20 years. Much-needed innovation should drive positive changes, not hinder our progress. It’s time to face the unforgivable consequences of cooling towers and actually take tangible steps towards change and ban them in Europe.
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In this session, Pete Cladingbowl will discuss how consumer and corporate demand for greener IT is leading to increasing scrutiny in EMEA about how green data truly is. Data indexes that evaluate those sustainability factors will give companies and consumers insight into which data and services are green – leading to increasing pressure on the technology industry to ensure that data center infrastructure is built, powered, and operated in sustainable ways. Cladingbowl will discuss how past successes has come from improved efficiency of components and sub-systems of the data centre and that the next big improvements require a more integrated and distributed approach that connects the data centre to the wider and increasingly circular economy. Across a region as large and diverse as EMEA, some parts will and must lead so others can leapfrog to greener IT.
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The European Green Deal’s goal is to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Leading European data center operators and trade associations pledge to make data centers climate neutral by 2030. This session by Susanna Kass, a member of the Climate 50 and top leader in reducing carbon footprints, will share her view that the status quo of building and operating data centers is no longer sufficient. The European Data Center Strategy must rethink and lead with Net Zero design throughout its life cycle to meet these goals.
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The European Green Deal provides an action plan to move to a green circular economy, while restoring biodiversity and cutting pollution. Yet with accelerated requirements for digital transformation, and an expected 400MW surge in European data centre capacity planned during 2021, the digital infrastructure sector has a key role to play in helping to build a carbon neutral future. Data centre operators require a framework that will enable them to truly decarbonize, while integrating resource-efficient facilities with renewables and the circular economy to support the EU’s efforts to combat climate change.
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In this presentation, Maurice Mortell will share his insight into the necessary steps digital infrastructure companies need to take to hit the targets set out in the pact and the EU’s green deal. These include: an industry-wide improvement in energy efficiency; greater reliance on clean energy with data centres matching their electricity supply through the purchase of clean energy; significantly improved water conservation on site; the reuse, repair and recycling of servers, electrical equipment and other related electrical components as a priority for digital infrastructure, as well as the reuse and recirculation of the heat produced by digital infrastructure companies.
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