A major data centre operator has committed itself to using wholly carbon-free electricity to keep the lights blinking on its racks.
London-headquartered Cyrus One says it has put its server farms in Slough, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Dublin on a supplier’s single green power tariff. Its west London unit alone has a 9.3kW consumption capacity across 8,600 square metres.
The firm is among the second tier of Europe’s data barn operators, just outside the top 10 headed by Digital Reality, Equinix, Lumen, KDDI and Japan’s NTT.
Data centres – hubs for streaming movies, video games, hosting podcasts and family photos – are already estimated to consume around 2% of the planet’s electricity, a proportion believed by some on track to doubling by 2030. One estimate from consultants Energy Innovation in 2020 had it that data centres worldwide used 205 billion kWh.
Only the bitcoin industry – tiny, and fragmented in comparison – is on a steeper, more power-hungry, growth curve.
For the UK alone, consultancy Carbon3IT calculated earlier this year that server barns’n’farms gobble up 12% Britain’s power generation, equivalent to 41TWh in 2021.
Energy profligacy is coming to be recognised by enlightened managers as a major problem for the industry.
Cyrus One is pledged to become carbon-neutral in all its worldwide operations by 2040. Its European activities are on track to reach this goal by 2030.
The company recently co-founded the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact. The pact’s 25 companies and 17 associations proclaim a goal of making Europe climate-neutral by 2050.
Tech giants Google and Amazon have committed themselves to expanding their ownership of dedicated green generation. Google wishes to be carbon neutral in all operations by 2030.