The need for cloud and data services is growing, but this increase in demand brings with it some serious challenges for the data centre industry’s future. Data centres require an enormous amount of energy – servers, storage, cooling systems all require electricity, and lots of it. With pressure mounting globally to clean up the sector, data centre operators face the dilemma of how to decarbonise such an energy intensive industry – without compromising performance. Here we take a look at some of the options for decarbonising your data centre organisation – and what support is available.
Sustainable Data Centres
The pressure to decarbonise existing data centres and create new, sustainable data centres comes from several angles. Not only has the UK legislated to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but stakeholder expectations are also increasingly important. A move towards greener processes is something that is now expected – with customer and investor expectations, as well as supply chain pressures, all playing a part.
Globally, data centre operators are launching their own decarbonisation strategies. The likes of Microsoft and Google have both gone beyond net zero to make carbon negative commitments. As part of their carbon negative pledge, Microsoft has said that by 2025, it will “have power purchase agreements for green energy contracted for 100 percent of carbon emitting electricity consumed by all our data centers, buildings, and campuses.”
Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact
A further commitment to greener infrastructure has been made via the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact. Following the EU Green Deal announcement in 2019, industry stakeholders launched the self-regulatory initiative, which is designed to support the goal of climate neutrality for data centres in Europe by 2030.
Despite our withdrawal from the EU, it’s expected that UK data centres will move in alignment with Europe, via the trade association techUK, who have signed the pact, and have a close relationship with the European EUDCA – the European Data Centre Association.1
What support is available?
Green procurement is the obvious first step for data centres looking to decarbonise their energy supply. We can help you secure greener contracts, ensuring that your supply is from 100% renewable sources, reducing your overall emissions.
We can help you use carbon-free technologies when developing new centres, as well as upscaling or improving the efficiency of older data centres via retrofitting and looking at opportunities for battery storage. We can also explore opportunities for self-generation. We understand that you cannot lose power, so as part of our strategy, we will ensure that we build in low carbon solutions while maintaining energy security.
As well as decarbonising your supply, we will work with your teams to ensure your sites are working as efficiently as possible, improving your Power Usage Efficiency (PUE) and Water Usage Efficiency (WUE) where possible. Improving the efficiency of your portfolio will not only make a huge environmental impact, it can also generate cost savings, as you reduce the amount of energy used in heating and cooling your sites.
If you haven’t yet started your sustainability journey, or you need help realising your climate ambitions, speak to us about our Carbon Action Programme, to find out how we can help you reach net zero.
Industrial Energy Transformation Fund
Financially, there are options available to support your decarbonisation efforts. The Industrial Energy Transformation Fund provides £315million of funding to help energy intensive industries reduce energy costs and emissions. The fund is available as a grant towards the total costs of successful proposals.
Applications for funding will be phased, with the first phase opening on Monday 8th March and running to 14th July 2021. To check if you’re eligible, or for support with your application, please get in touch.
E&CM work with data centre operators across the UK to help them reduce their carbon emissions. If you haven’t yet addressed your carbon footprint, or you need help realising your carbon reduction ambitions, download our Carbon Action Programme brochure, or get in touch with us today at [email protected].