I am pleased to see that several companies are starting to recognize that building zero carbon data centers is a more sustainable direction rather than focusing on energy efficiency (i.e. PUE).
As China, India and the rest of the developing world starts to deploy data centers, GHG emissions will continue to increase in portion to the number of data centers regardless of the PUE. But building zero carbon data centers powered only by renewable energy means that as the world deploys many more hundreds of data centers, GHG emissions will remain virtually unaltered and close to zero.
The other attraction of these types of solutions is that they are much more adaptable and survivable in an era of severe weather due to climate change, when the existing coal powered electrical grid is likely to be seriously compromised. According to a recent report in Reuters it is predicted that coal and nuclear power generating capacity between 2031 and 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the United States and a 6 to 19 percent decline in Europe due to lack of cooling water as a result of warmer temperatures from climate change. Already in previous summer heat waves several power plants in Europe and USA have had to shut down because of lack of cool water.
This is the type of thinking we need in all sectors of society if we are going to meaningfully address climate change. Hewlett Packard is also involved in GreenCloud project in NY state — which is a distributed follow the wind/follow the sun zero carbon data center project similar to the Greenstar program.
By Bill St. Arnaud , Green IT Networking Consultant
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Minds + Machines