The path to greener energy for data centres

September 23, 2021

Energy consumption from data centres is currently attracting more attention as a matter of concern, as global computing capacity continues to rapidly increase. But rather than seeing them as a threat to the sustainable energy transition, and the wider climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, data centres may actually present an opportunity to accelerate the transition. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) data centres sit at the nexus of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and burgeoning data economy enabled by digitalisation. By integrating the latest technologies and leveraging the increasingly attractive economics of renewables and the increased efficiencies made possible by artificial intelligence, data centres are paving a path that other power-hungry industries could follow.

Sessions from this talk

Data centre infrastructure has never been more vital to the way our world interacts, with a digital revolution occuring across all industries and disciplines being the cause for the data centre boom. With data centres consuming one per cent of global electricity, the ultimate goal is to power digital infrastructure with more renewable energy sources, and drastically reduce the impact on climate change. Phill Lawson-Shanks discusses how the growing demand for renewable energy impacting data centre builders and operators, what makes the transition more seamless, and what the future looks like for renewable energy in the data centre.
The need for clean, green power is evident for all to see – our planet is heating at an alarming rate, and, according to the most recent IPCC report, human activity is a primary factor. However, while renewable energy, carbon credits, and electron tracing are all part of the solution, little has been done to examine the negative side effects of the green environment we are striving towards. This session explores the various types of green energy in use today, as well as new configurations which can maximise the usage and effectiveness to support the compute industry. Additionally, we will highlight some of the most recent solutions which can contribute to decreasing our carbon footprint.
The tech-sector is at the forefront of the fight against climate change, purchasing vast amounts of renewable energy through renewable energy certificates and power purchase agreements. This presentation will highlight what has- and continues-to motivate tech-sector companies to maintain their leading role in renewable energy transactions, while targeting further innovation in the sector. Further, this talk will help you understand the latest motivators for peers to act, what the industry leaders are currently grappling with, and that no company is walking alone when it comes to renewable energy procurement.
The ICT sector has expanded far faster than any other industry in recent history, and the data centre is widely recognised as an essential component which underpins the digital transformation. In an age where the world is focused on delivering sustainability in the face of growing concerns over the deterioration of our climate, data centre can no longer get away with consuming vast amounts of power via large grid connections, or for building cooling purposes. This presentation will explore how operators can employ active management of electricity consumption and measures to limit the associated environmental impact to increase data centre sustainability.
How does a Fortune 20 company focus on increased climate risks and mitigation requirements while staying focused on the operational demands of running a global supply chain? Hear from James Gowen, Verizon’s Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP of Global Supply Chain Operations, as he shares insight into the holistic and systematic methods Verizon uses to achieve unprecedented results in two interconnected areas.
While the aim for the data centre sector should be to increase sustainability, currently renewable energy sources are not reliable enough to facilitate a universal switch to renewables – sources such as wind and solar are intermittent at best, and increase grid instability as there is no guarantee of access to energy when it is required. Clearly, diesel generators are not the answer, but generators powered by natural gas may be able to support a data centre’s sustainability goals, reducing dependency on the electric grid and even being able to offer grid balancing services.

Speakers in this Session


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