The demand for green data centers is growing. Reason? Rising energy costs and CO2 emissions
According to analyzes by Mordor Intelligence, $ 181.91 billion is the value that the market of “green” data centers is expected to achieve by 2025. Consequently, it means an increase y/y by 23.01% in 5 years. It is also worth recalling that in 2019 the market value was estimated at USD 53.19 billion.
Every year more and more data centers will be supplied with “green” energy. This is the main conclusion that emerges from the report “Green Data Center Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020 – 2025)” prepared by the analytical company Mordor Intelligence. Google has announced that it intends to use only zero-emission energy sources by 2030. In turn, Microsoft is testing the data center power supply with hydrogen technology and has been successfully implementing the Natick project for two years. The conclusions of the experiment are to be the basis for creating sustainable development for their data centers.
More and more data, more and more emission
According to analysts, regulation is the main reason for the rapid development of data centers powered by renewable energy. They force operators to reduce electricity consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. There are voices on the subject both in the United States and in the European Union. The European Commission’s strategy assumes that data centers should be carbon neutral by 2030. While there are no specific guidelines yet, EU officials point out that the ICT sector already accounts for 5% to 9% of global energy consumption and more than 2% of total CO2 emissions. In 2030, electricity consumption by data centers alone will increase from the current 2% to as much as 8%.
“Moving many of our activities to the online sphere: work, education, health, or shopping, the digital data is growing enormously. Even before the pandemic accelerated the digitization and implementation of 5G technology, the Internet of Things, or cloud computing, there was talk of a data tsunami. It is very conducive to the development of the data center market and, at the same time, increases the consumption of electricity. Some data centers today use as much as a small city” – points out Wojciech Stramski, CEO of Beyond.pl, announced in August this year the expansion of its data center campus in Poznań. Its power will increase from 8MW to as much as 42MW (megawatt), and it will be entirely powered by energy from renewable sources. “Taking measures to reduce the negative impact of data centers on the environment is essential. Importantly, and I am personally pleased, more and more customers have CO2 reduction included in their corporate values and are more willing to choose partners operating by sustainable development principles. This also applies to hyperscalers who colocate their servers in data centers that meet low CO2 emissions requirements” – adds Wojciech Stramski.
Data from Mordor Intelligence well illustrate the growing demand for electricity by data centers. It is estimated that in the United States alone in 2013, they consumed 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, emitting 97 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This year, the data center’s energy consumption reaches 139 billion kilowatt-hours, and CO2 emissions to the atmosphere will amount to 147 million tons. These numbers are growing all the time. Huawei estimates that the demand for centered services is expected to increase by 3 to 10 times by 2030.
High electricity costs
Increasing energy costs are also crucial for the development of green data centers. The report “Green Data Center Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020 – 2025)” shows that the bills paid by US data centers increased from $ 9 billion in 2013 to $ 13.7 billion this year. Also, in Poland, one should consider the growing electricity prices in the coming years, which are still low compared to the EU. Therefore, suppliers from the Data Center sector will look for green solutions that will reduce their bills.
„Technical solutions that help reduce the total power consumption require a modern, cross-industry approach to data center design. Many such sites that are older built more than five years ago are not fit anymore to accommodate the most energy-efficient and ecological equipment, which additionally allows for long-term savings. We should bear in mind that electricity used to power and cool servers is one of the major data center expenses. In practice, the lower the power consumption, the lower the TCO – end customer bills” – points out Michał Grzybkowski, Executive VP Technology at Beyond.pl. “The very use of thermal energy from the server room to heat the office and technical building or the adiabatic cooling of the data center that we use on our campus gives tangible benefits, and these are only some of the solutions currently used”– adds Michał Grzybkowski.
Beyond.pl’s Data Center 2, powered by “green” energy, is considered one of Poland’s most cost-effective facilities. With full use of the capacity, the Data Center achieves the PUE level below 1.2, while the market average in Poland is 1.4-1.6.
A foreign example of a green Data Center is a project carried out in the Norwegian Lefdal mine. The data center there is built 150 meters into the mountain in a former mine. It is powered solely by locally generated renewable energy, and the energy infrastructure provides clean energy generated by four glacier hydroelectric plants and two wind farms.
Policies limiting greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable development will have repercussions on the data processing market, primarily since still few suppliers use “green” technologies. Forecasts predict the most massive increases in green data center investments in Asia and Australia, slightly slower in Europe and the United States. Lower investments are forecast in Africa and South America.