There’s no question the demand for IT is increasing, spurred by a digital revolution that includes Internet of Thing devices and Big Data. And it’s a challenge for companies to identify ways to implement renewable energy initiatives to offset the power used by data centers.
According to the results of an AFCOM State of the Data Center survey, 70 percent of IT specialists reported that their companies’ power density had increased during the previous three years, with 26 percent of them describing it as a significant hike.
As a result, these companies have been focusing on more energy-efficient ways to power data centers. Of the survey respondents, 34 percent that had deployed or planned to deploy a renewable energy source within the next 18 months. Of the ones who had deployed a renewable energy source, 70 percent used solar energy; 50 percent used natural gas; 50 percent wind technology; 27 percent water; and 10 percent geothermal.
The need to boost energy efficiency is critical, according to the IDC, which noted that there are now more than 8 million data centers operating worldwide. Data center space is expected to expand from 1.6 billion square feet to more than 1.9 billion square feet in 2018.
Microsoft recently announced that it would power its data centers with 50 percent renewable energy by 2018, and increase its use of renewable power to 60 percent by the 2020s. Rob Bernard, Microsoft's chief environmental strategist, said that top cloud companies have a responsibility to address growing energy usage in the midst of growing data center demand.
When sourcing options for clean energy, some considerations include:
- Choosing green power options from your local electric utility
- Incorporating renewable energy equipment on site
- Purchasing Power Purchase Agreements, which secure fixed energy prices
- Purchasing clean energy directly from a renewable energy project developer