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Renewable Energy Data Center

Posted at September 19th, 2022 | Categorised in Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Data Center – Some of the early attempts to make renewable energy available and reportable by many public customers have been successful, but have only pushed the boundaries.

Digital Realty Trust, the developer and operator of the world’s second largest data center, has purchased massive renewable energy capacity for one of its largest tenants, Facebook, he said in a year. announced before. This unique arrangement allows Facebook to power some of its data centers with solar power.

Renewable Energy Data Center

Data center customers who, despite their limited nature (more on that below), can’t lease Facebook tens or hundreds of megawatts of capacity at a time, even with digital power purchase agreements like Facebook’s Digital Power Purchase Agreement is not available for , microsoft or google. Big announcements of renewable energy deals by hyperscalers have become commonplace, which is a positive trend. However, traditional business energy consumption is not addressed by hosting and colocation providers. Buying clean energy isn’t always easy, even for big companies, and many don’t even bother to buy it.

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Enterprise information management giant Iron Mountain, which has expanded its data center operations in recent years, last year launched Green PowerPass, a renewable energy reporting solution based on the Future of Internet Power (FOIP) voluntary standard. A group that is part of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) representing hundreds of large companies.

Kevin Hagen, Iron Mountain’s vice president of Environmental, Social, and Governance Strategy, said the solution will help all of Iron Mountain’s data centers, regardless of size, that purchase computing equipment from renewable energy providers. Intended for customers. said data center knowledge.

The FOIP standard has made this solution possible, he said. The World Resources Institute’s traditional Carbon Protocol “set the rules of carbon accounting for everyone,” Hagen explains. our customers. ”

The FOIP working group is just an attempt to create a common solution for customers to manage their suppliers’ investments in renewable energy. The protocol was created “to enable the transfer of green features from data centers to tenants.”

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Iron Mountain and its clients Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Akamai all joined the task force. Three customers have been using Green Power Path since its inception.

His CDN infrastructure at Akamai consists primarily of his 4,000+ small footprints. The company’s director of sustainability, Mike Matera, said FOIP and the Green Power Path fit well into this operating model. “We are a very agile client and fit the way we operate and position ourselves in different cities around the world.”

This does not mean that Akamai is not necessarily an expert in renewable energy procurement. “By finding very small projects depending on where they provide green power and reduce carbon emissions, we don’t have to worry too much about going green in our operations,” he said.

Building green energy into standard paint contracts is also important, Matra noted, encouraging other suppliers to follow Iron-His Mountain’s lead. In transit, we can use reportable partners who have “something acceptable on the ground. Iron Mountain has created an excellent base for Colo to share this work and move in that direction.”

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The FOIP whitepaper outlines voluntary standards for reporting renewable energy purchased by colocation he providers. Gary Cook, director of climate campaigns at Stand.earth and former senior IT analyst at Greenpeace, told his Data Center Knowledge.

“This is a useful, though useful, indication of how much carbon operators need to inform their customers about purchasing renewable energy for their data center assets, as well as those who are concerned about their contribution to climate change. It’s an unfair measure.”It allows us to make better informed decisions,” he said.

Cook cautioned against the “lax nature of corporate reporting standards for renewable energy.” This is because it is not always clear whether there is a local renewable energy supply.

Technically speaking, Facebook could say that Digital Realty’s clean energy purchase deal announced last year means it will use more solar power in Facebook’s digitally powered servers. In fact, at this particular event, he didn’t put a watt-hour of solar energy into his Facebook servers in a digital data center. His affected 80MW solar farm is in North Carolina, where Facebook operates its own data centers, but Digital has no footprint. The closest digital data center used by Facebook is in Northern Virginia.

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It is a “virtual power purchase agreement”, which is essentially a “renewable energy credit” (REC) tied to clean energy that is generated in one location and used in another, to convert electricity from the grid into Make it “Carbon Neutral”. But it’s carbon neutral in name only. Even if a large virtual PPA with a large customer could install new solar or wind farms, the carbon footprint generated by the farm and the customer’s operations if those operations are not on the same grid. cannot deal with. However, any combination of fossil fuels or renewable energy sources is considered carbon neutral.

RECs can be “uncoupled” for sale separately from the energy produced. Sustainable colocation customers should also carefully consider whether the data center they are considering will be co-located with the newly added renewable power source. Cook warned. .

Iron Mountain’s energy portfolio ranges from on-site solar power generation, including ‘possibly’ own generation equipment, to virtual PA in remote wind farms. The company has renewable energy contracts in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Illinois and Texas. New Jersey Edison says his new 7MW solar power plant will be operational soon, with more installations underway.

“Our data center business has been 100% renewable since 2017, and we are now at 70% enterprise utilization,” he said. From 2017 to 2018, we doubled the world’s electricity consumption. This is a huge amount. So we need more renewable energy.

Green Data Centers Infographic

While some utilities have come up with innovative solutions, others still find ways to meet their customers’ renewable energy needs, especially in areas dominated by local utilities. Is not … “Data center locations are often dictated by connectivity and latency issues, so you can stick with [delivery] partners,” Hagen said.

Traditionally, utilities have been rewarded for stability rather than innovation. “I’m very sympathetic because I’m going to ask them for a new method soon, but I’m a little impatient.”

According to Hagen, Iron Mountain does not buy his REC unwrapped. “We never had the chance to go and buy REC ourselves. All the power we use comes from an electrical and functional power supply.

Renewable energy is more cost-effective, especially for data center owners and operators with long-term energy contracts. So we know exactly what renewables will look like in 5 or 10 years, and we can strike very attractive long-term contracts. Fossil fuel stakeholders struggle to understand how to manage long-term contract risk in their business.

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It wasn’t clear at first, he admits. “When we started this process, we asked ourselves: Why are we paying more for electricity? Green is more expensive.It’s crazy! “We’ve never paid more than the grid.” The net value of the company’s green energy bill is “probably over $30 million,” he said.

Today, solving where clean energy is generated from where it is used is often necessary and the only way for large operators to become ‘carbon neutral’. Clean energy is not readily available in all data center locations, nor is it cost-effective everywhere.

Some large operators have publicly committed to the efforts necessary to prevent this. There are some key technical, regulatory, and business barriers to powering data centers directly with 24/7 renewable energy. In 2010 he said Google 2016, he is working to overcome these obstacles, and Microsoft announced a similar ambitious plan earlier this year.

Addressing this issue is the next big step for all data center operators, Elizabeth Jardim, senior corporate campaigner at Greenpeace USA, told her DCK. How to power data centers with 24/7 renewable energy, further reducing the need for fossil fuels and replacing them on the grid.

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Iron Mountain is taking a step in that direction, planning to add battery storage to its installed solar array.

In the future, data centers could act as power providers for networks, Hagen said. For example, if a data center is not using all of its contracted power with solar generators, the surplus can be sold to the grid. “What if you could?

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