Digital transformation era bring it consequences in environment, and in this article we would like to tell about Data Center Environmental Impact in European Countries.
The Data Center’s energy needs have grown aggressively in recent years globally. Much of the global digital information gets stored here.
Data Centers provide users with a facility that centralizes an organization’s shared IT operations and equipment to store, process, and disseminate data and applications. They are important to the continuity of daily operations as they accommodate an organization’s most critical and proprietary assets. Let’s have a look at the data center’s environmental impact on the EU countries.
Data Centers in European Countries
According to an Australian cloud software provider, 1,978 data centers are currently spread across 27 European countries. Germany is at the top with 482 data centers, followed by Netherland, having 280 data centers. The estimated number of these centers in the EU’s neighboring countries, including the UK, Norway, and Switzerland, is 596.
America and Canada are way ahead of Europe as far as physical infrastructure usage is concerned. As per the report of ReportLinker, investment in EU’s Data Centers increased by 58% in 2021.
According to CBRE, a real estate consultancy, the US data center market is predicted to grow by 14% in 2021 in terms of megawatt capacity. Europe’s income from these structures will grow to €15 Billion by 2024, an increase of 46% from 2020.
Concerns regarding Data Centre Environment Impact
Data Centers need large quantities of energy, from operating systems to refrigerating equipment. As the digitalization of the global economy continues, the booming growth of the data centers has raised serious concerns.
The environmental threats to the sustainability of the Physical infrastructure in Europe, the heart of the recent development, keep rising. The energy consumption is due to the expansion of cloud services in Europe.
According to the IEA, at the end of 2019, data centers consumed 1% of global energy. The energy needs increase by around 42% between 2010 and 2018. But the problem is just the number of centers and their location. Very little recent data on the European data center’s energy consumption is available.
Dominik Franjo Dominkovic, while working to improve data center environmental impact in the Nordic country, stated, “There is a lack of clarity, especially in smaller data centers. Many operators do not share their energy consumption figures”. The reason can be that businesses fear tightening environmental regulations. They see it as a burden without profit and don’t want to add on top of GDPR laws. However, the law does not affect this type of information.
Data centers also utilize huge quantities of water to keep the facilities cool. That has led to controversy in the US, where companies like Google and Amazon use billions of gallons of water.
Concept of the European Green Deal
At the moment, the growth of the data center still seems difficult to slow down. According to Eirgrid, Ireland’s public energy company study, data centers will constitute 30% of energy demand in 2028. In Denmark, where the Foreign Ministry advertises their land as a perfect destination for data centers business. Another Danish Council on Climate study says that data centers will constitute 17% of the country’s energy demands in the next ten years.
The Commission is exploring measures to improve energy efficiency and circular economy performance in cloud computing and data centers. The European Green Deal launched in 2019 is dealing with the rising concerns of data center environmental impact.
In January 2021, 25 companies, including tech giants like Amazon and Google. It also includes some major European market companies, including Equinix and Interxion, which initiated the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact. It is a voluntary and rather spontaneous agreement to pave the way in case tighter regulations were introduced by the EU. The European Green Deal is working on improvising data center upgrade technology. It will transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient, and competitive economy, ensuring:
- No net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
- Economic growth decoupled from resource use
- No person and no place left behind
The EU Commission adopted a set of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport, and taxation policies fit for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990. Here are some steps that will provide the basis for the European Green Deal contributions to data center upgrade technology:
To Prove Energy Efficiency with Measurable Targets
Data centers & server rooms in Europe shall meet the high bars for energy efficiency, which will get displayed through aggressive power use effectiveness (PUE) targets.
- Till 1 January 2025, new data centers working at full capacity in cool climates will encounter an annual PUE target of 1.3 and 1.4 for new data centers operating at full capacity in warm temperatures.
- Existing data centers will achieve these same targets by 1 January 2030.
- These targets apply to all data centers larger than 50KW of maximum IT power demand.
- In recognition of the EU Commission’s interest in creating a new efficiency metric, trade associations will work with the appropriate organizations toward creating a new data center efficiency metric. Once defined, trade associations will consider setting a 2030 goal based on this metric.
To Purchase 100% Carbon-Free Energy.
Data centers will match their electricity supply by purchasing clean energy.
- Data center electricity demand will get matched by 75% renewable energy or hourly carbon-free energy by 31 December 2025 and 100% by 31 December 2030.
To prioritize Water conservation.
Data centers at full capacity will meet high bars for water conservation, displayed by applying a location and source-sensitive water usage effectiveness (WUE) target.
- Until 1 January 2025, new data centers at full capacity in cool climates using unpolluted water will get designed to deal with a maximum WUE of 0.4 L/kWh in water-stress areas.
- The limit of WUE can get amended based on climate, stress, and water type to uplift the utilization of sustainable water sources for cooling purposes.
- Till 31 December 2040, existing data centers that replace a cooling system will meet the WUE target applied to new data centers.
To Reuse & Repair Servers
Data center operators prioritize reusing, repairing, and recycling servers, electrical equipment, and other electrical components.
- Data centers will set a high standard for circular economy practices. They will permit for reusing of 100% of their used server equipment.
- These operators will increase the quantity of server material repaired and create a target percentage for repair by 2025.
To Recycle Heat
Retaining data center heat presents an opportunity for energy conservation that can fit specific circumstances. Data center operators will explore possibilities to interconnect with district heating systems. Other heat users to determine if opportunities to feed captured heat from new data centers into nearby systems are practical, environmentally sound, and cost-effective.
Digital Technology is the need of the hour in every country. You can’t survive without it. The booming growth of Data Centers in European Countries has raised concerns like energy and water consumption. But the authorities have committed to deal with the data center’s environmental impacts through the European Green Deal.
Keep on reading the sustain data center blog to get the latest developments from the world of data centers around the world.