Greenpeace: Power companies are the biggest impediment to a low-carbon Internet

Just published on 451 Research (subscribers only)

Environmental group Greenpeace recently released its latest take on the ecological impact of large datacenter operators. In Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet, the organization asserts that while there continue to be some laggards among the pack of large datacenter operators, many have taken decisive steps to improve their environmental stewardship. 

In a clear switch of emphasis, Greenpeace reserves the bulk of its criticism for what it describes as a group of monopolistic utilities. The group says these utilities are still not investing sufficiently in renewable energy generation, or creating the kinds of tariffs to incentivize datacenters to use more renewables. Greenpeace devotes less attention to the fact that the relationship between datacenters and utilities is shifting, in some cases dramatically, with implications for renewable energy generation and use. (We examined some of these changes in a recent report).

Green Mountain shows ‘Fjord thinking’ with low-carbon, efficient and resilient facilities

Just published on 451 Research (for subscribers only)

Colocation datacenter operator Green Mountain Data Centre has two facilities in Norway. Its first facility, DC1, close to Stavanger, Norway, received a Tier III Tier Certification of Constructed Facility from Uptime Institute (a division of The 451 Group) in Q2 2015. The site has been operational since 2013, and its customers include Norway’s largest financial services company. The facility is notable for being built inside a former NATO munitions store. Other innovations include the use of seawater cooling and hypoxic fire suppression.

Early Adopter Snapshot

Many new datacenter builds attempt to accommodate the often competing ambitions of energy efficiency and resiliency. The balance for colocation facilities is even harder to achieve, with customers often demanding high levels of resiliency while mandating PUEs and operational costs commensurate with extreme energy efficiency. Green Mountain appears to have managed what few others have, thanks to the site’s history as a NATO munitions store and the availability of cheap, reliable and low-carbon hydropower. The addition of seawater cooling helps to further reinforce the facility’s green credentials.