The flourishing relationship between the energy system and the data centre

February 25, 2021

As the world becomes increasingly digitised, demand for data centre services is rising rapidly. The goal is to power digital infrastructure with renewable energy but that is seen as a three-step process. The first step is to use offsets, followed by matching usage with like-for-like energy purchases. The final stage is direct consumption of locally generated renewables, either in real-time or stored from recent generation. This talk investigates the growing synergies between data centres and the energy system and how those collaborations can open the way to a sustainable future.

Sessions from this talk

This presentation will look at the ever increasing need for data centre energy, the impending regulatory regime in the EU and some possible options for data centres to reduce their reliance on third party generation and distribution using existing guidelines, innovation and smart city integration.
A data center is the place where energy and digital comes together. For an efficient energy system the energy infrastructure providers are relying more on digital solutions. The growth of digital makes it even more critical to fully focus on energy efficiency in a data centre. How can we let the IT side work with the facility side? The bigger the data centre, the more efficient they get and the less they get understood, yet it is vital that we plan new data centres in a way that it helps the energy grid, in a way it can connect to existing heat networks or makes investment in heat distribution possible. How can we work together with government and legislators to manage this together? How can we kickstart more research into energy storage and do this by working together internationally? Do we have enough people available to do all this? All these questions will be answered in Stijn’s presentation.
The data centre sector has been vilified – perhaps unfairly – due to the carbon footprint of its operations. What have been less highlighted are the advances in data centre infrastructure efficiency which have enabled increases in productivity across a wide range of industries far outweighing the sector’s direct energy use. As the effects of the climate emergency become more apparent, the data centre sector is taking additional steps to mitigate its GHG emissions, from sourcing green utility supplies to the reduction of fossil-fuel powered equipment and use of more environmentally-friendly energy storage systems. This presentation will cover the importance of self-regulation and the Carbon Pact in achieving the goal of carbon net-zero data centres by 2030.
Accelerated digital transformation is driving the need for more data centers built faster than ever before. For environmental stewards like Aligned, the ultimate goal is being able to power digital infrastructure with more renewable energy. How is this growing demand and the need for speed-to-market impacting that ability for data center builders and operators? What makes the transition more seamless? What does the future look like for renewable energy in the data center? Phill Lawson-Shanks, will discuss Aligned’s success in sustainability and their focus on energy and water efficiency as well as renewables, why investing in renewables is key today and tomorrow for data centers, and the future of incorporating renewables into your data center business.
Over the last year, we have seen numerous tech giants take an aggressive stance on climate change and their own environmental impact. And, while it is important to note that much progress has already been made on improving the sustainability credentials of data centres in the past decade, there is more that can and should be done. To date, some data centre operators have tackled only the most straightforward efficiency saving opportunities – like renewable use and cooling. This talk will focus on end-to-end lifecycle management – looking at how sustainability must not be a discrete initiative, but infused through design, through deployment to operation and optimisation.

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