Report: Power-hungry data centers have big potential for efficiency
- A new report out by Future Resource Engineering highlights the energy efficiency potential that exists in data centers, finding more than 24 million kWh of potential savings in 40 locations, Smart Grid News reports.
- Those efficiencies equate to more than $3.5 million in cost savings and possible incentives, the firm said, while also noting the energy demand for data centers is expected to double in the next five years.
- Data center specialist Equinix recently announced it had signed power purchase agreements for wind energy in Oklahoma and Texas that will help supply its own data centers with 100% renewable energy.
Growth of the digital economy has led to the expansion of data centers around the globe, and with it, a boost in power demand. Future Resource Engineering, a firm focused on efficiency at these internet-enabling locations, has issued a white paper on how to create an efficiency plan for data operations and predicts that their usage will double in the next five years.
"Data centers are 10 to 100 times more energy intensive than offices," the report points out, and "demand for computing power and storage is growing faster than efficiency." The firm recently said it had examined 40 locations and found some 24,467,186 kWh of energy savings, resulting in more than $2.2 million in cost savings and another $1.4 million in potential utility incentives.
Among the benefits identified: improved environmental and power monitoring; enhanced control and automation of data center infrastructure; improved cooling and airflow; and increases in capacity, redundancy, and uptime.
In addition to efficiency, tech companies are increasingly going with renewable power.
For example, Google last week announced it would be the first company to buy into Duke Energy Carolina’s Green Source Rider program. The company will buy the full 61 MW output of the Rutherford Farms solar array to serve a data center within the same grid.
And last month, data center company Equinix said it signed power purchase agreements with both an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources and Invenergy LLC to purchase wind energy in Oklahoma and Texas. The deal will cover all Equinix data centers throughout North America, providing a combined 225 MW of capacity and bringing the company's total renewable energy coverage in North America to 100% by the end of 2016.
The deal will nearly double its global renewable energy, moving from 43% to 82%. Both projects will be fully deployed by the end of 2016.
Companies like Equinix are looking for ways to "reduce their emissions and improve their sustainability goals," said Craig Gordon, Invenergy vice president of sales and marketing.
Equinix has more than 100 facilities in 33 global markets, according to Karl Strohmeyer, president of Equinix Americas. "These projects announced today are two significant milestones toward our commitment of reaching 100% renewable power across all of our data centers across the globe, and further solidify Equinix's position as a leader in data center sustainability," he said.
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