Swedish energy supplier Vattenfall has signed up to the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA), whose mission is to move the global digital sector towards zero-emissions.
Founded in late-2019, the SDIA is a non-profit entity that uniquely aligns energy suppliers, governments and industry to a mission of decarbonizing the global digital economy.
While drawing attention to the rise of global data centres, whose carbon emissions rival that of the aviation industry, the not-for-profit organisation seeks to drive collaboration across the value chain to promote a future digital infrastructure with minimal environmental impact.
The addition of Vattenfall to the Alliance will seek to further SDIA’s goal of greater intra-industry collaboration towards an ecologically and economically sustainable digital world.
“We welcome Vattenfall not only as a new member to the Alliance, but also as one of the first energy companies to put the decarbonization of the digital infrastructure sector on their agenda,” Max Schulze, SDIA’s chairman of the board, said. “Data centres are major energy consumers and energy utilities, such as Vattenfall, bring the knowledge and experience to integrate them effectively as part of the future energy system.”
Vattenfall, 100 per cent owned by the Swedish state, is one of Europe’s largest producers and retailers of electricity and heat. Their primary markets are Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and Finland.
As data centres play a more significant and influential role in the energy system, the SDIA wants all stakeholders to actively develop holistic initiatives to harness and integrate the centres’ energy consumption through better planning, smarter optimisation and greater flexibility to the power grid.
Max Schulze explained that the residual heat from data centres could become a significant heat source for households and light industries. “Facilities now frequently reach capacities of 20 MW and more, so there is an enormous potential still untapped for ecological and economic improvements,” he added. “For example, energy utilities can utilise waste heat from data centres or increase workloads when there is a lot of renewable electricity in the power grid. The SDIA wants to create net-positive digital infrastructure which aligns with Vattenfall’s mission to enable fossil-free living within one generation.”
Welcoming the opportunity to become a member of SDIA, Siur Jensen, vice president of Vattenfall Markets, said: “It also represents an important step for us to offer our expertise and collaboration towards achieving a more sustainable digital infrastructure sector. We see that data centres are growing and digital infrastructure is increasing in importance. As with other large-scale industry, there is the potential for a deeper integration, be it residual heat, flexibility, power-purchase agreements or other synergies.
“With our support in the SDIA and our pilot facility near Stockholm, we want to facilitate such an integration along the entire value chain.”