European cloud industry commits to greener data centers

42 cloud providers, such as OVHcloud, Scaleway, 3DS Outscale, Google, Amazon … and professional organizations have just signed a pact aimed at reducing the environmental impact of data centers on a European scale.

Biannual monitoring

Developed in collaboration with the European Commission, the Climate Neutral Datacenter Pact foresees five objectives to be achieved by 2030: to prove the energy efficiency of infrastructures with measurable objectives, to use 100% carbon-free energy, to prioritize the conservation of the environment. water, reuse and repair servers and find ways to recycle heat. The EU executive will be responsible for monitoring progress twice a year.

The commitment made today by major players in the data industry represents a promise for society and offers a welcome first step towards realizing our common ambitions for a smart and sustainable future.“, welcomed Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner designate for the European Green Deal and the fight against climate change.

No risk of sanction

This text is part of the European “Green Deal”, which aims to make Europe the first continent to be “climate neutral” by 2050. But this pact is not binding. In other words, companies and organizations do not risk sanction if they do not meet one or all of the five objectives set.

In October 2020, the French government also adopted an interministerial roadmap which contains these 5 objectives in substance. For example, he wants the implementation of an eco-conditionality of the reduced rate of the tax applicable to the electricity consumed by a data center. To benefit from this tariff, they will have to put in place “ambitious measures” to control their environmental footprint, in terms of energy efficiency and heat recovery.

Often singled out as bad students, data centers use less energy than you might think, according to a study published in February 2020 in the journal Science. The researchers behind this work concluded that although the amount of computing in data centers more than quintupled between 2010 and 2018, the amount of electrical energy consumed only increased by 6% over the period. same period.

Improved energy efficiency

This paradox is in fact due to the improvement of energy efficiency, that is to say the fact that the operating state for which the energy consumption is minimized, for a service rendered identical. Thus, in 2018, the power consumption of data centers was “205 terawatt-hours of electricity”, or around 1% of global consumption.

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