Data Centres Fuel Green Tech in Response to Environmental Worries

By Oliver Townsend Jun 30, 2024
Balancing Act: Data Centres Drive Renewable Innovation Amid Environmental Concerns.jpegOrginal image from: https://datacentremagazine.com/data-centres/trues-jonathan-anstey-on-data-centres-renewable-energy

Data centres are essential in today’s digital world, but their energy consumption raises environmental concerns. However, data centres are also driving innovations in renewable technology. Jonathan Anstey, Head of Sustainability at True, sheds light on the strategies data centres can adopt to become more eco-friendly. Let’s explore the environmental impact of data centres and the importance of sustainability in this industry.

Environmental Impact of Data Centres

Data centres are known for being energy-intensive, leading to environmental concerns. However, their existence is crucial for our modern world and has accelerated innovations in renewable technology. The significant data processing needs worldwide have pushed the industry towards sustainability and green initiatives. Initiatives like heat reuse, liquid immersion cooling, and Li-ion batteries have emerged as innovative solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of data centres.

Why Sustainability is Key for Data Centres

As more large corporations focus on environmental credentials, data centres must prioritize sustainability to attract and retain customers. Legislation like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is pushing companies to evaluate the sustainability of their supply chain. Data centres need to showcase sustainable operations to secure contracts and comply with new regulations. Long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) can help data centres ensure their energy demands are met with renewable sources, contributing to their net zero strategies.

Challenges in Achieving Sustainability

Data centres face challenges in meeting the increasing demand for data processing while balancing energy procurement sustainably. Strategic energy procurement guidance is crucial to avoid inefficiencies and maintain sustainable operations during operational ramp-up periods. Cooling, as the main source of energy consumption, requires innovative solutions like data centre placement in cooler regions or utilizing waste heat for other purposes.

The Future of Sustainable Data Centres

In the next 12-18 months, the data centre industry may experience capacity constraints due to rising energy demands. Innovation in energy storage and onsite generation can help alleviate pressure on the grid. Countries like the UK, with abundant offshore wind resources, can leverage renewable energy to meet the growing demands of data centres. Embracing new technologies and sustainable practices will be essential for the future of data centres.

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