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Adopting climate neutral data centre pact targets saves enough energy to power a city

The operators of medium sized data centres could save Europe eleven terawatt hours (11 tWh) of electrical power every year, the same as a medium-sized city, if they meet the efficiency goals of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, according to CISPE (Cloud Infrastructure Service Providers in Europe). 

As the recast Energy Efficiency Directive is debated by the European Parliament, Council and Commission, CISPE calls on all parties to ensure that it applies to all data centres of 100 kW or more in order to capture these potential savings.

Commissioned from 451 Research, the global research and advisory firm, the report shows that there are approximately 16,000 data centres in EMEA that are larger than 100 kW. Together, these facilities used approximately 34 terawatt hours of power in 2021.

Data centres need a range of auxiliary services, including cooling, to support the main work of the IT systems. Data centres can deliver increasing amounts of work more efficiently by reducing these overheads as much as possible. Power Utilisation Efficiency (PUE) is a metric accepted across the industry as a way of measuring the size of this overhead compared to the energy used to power the computing equipment. As a ratio, the closer the PUE is to 1.0, the more energy efficient the data centre.

Signatories of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, of which CISPE is a founder and which represents most of the major data centre operators in Europe, are committed to the goal of all data centres reaching a PUE of 1.4 by January 1st 2030. Many are already hitting or close to this target. However, these professionally run, modern facilities make up only about 10% of those data centres larger than 100kW in Europe. The vast majority of the 16,000 data centres larger than 100kW in Europe are privately operated or in house data centres operated by businesses and public sector organisations. Previous research by 451 Research has indicted that the average efficiency of these enterprise data centres to be a PUE of 2.1.

The 451 Research calculates that if all the data centres larger than 100kW in Europe were to improve their efficiency to PUE 1.4 the annual savings in electricity consumption in 2021 would have been 11 terawatt hours enough to power a city the size of Hamburg for a year. Ensuing that all medium-sized data centres, wherever they are and whoever operates them, meet the same consistent energy efficiency standards is essential to achieve the green digital revolution Europe desires.

"The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact signatories are showing the way," says Francisco Mingorance, secretary general of CISPE. 

"We call upon all those who own or operate data centres to follow suit. 

"The recasting of the Energy Efficiency Directive provides an unmissable opportunity to ensure that all significant data centres measure and report the efficiency of their energy consumption in a standard and consistent manner to drive real progress in this critical area of environmental sustainability for the digital economy."

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