PG&E Incentives for Energy Star Servers

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greendcThe government’s Energy Star for Enterprise Servers program offers a tool to help data center operators get the most bang for their kilowatts. Now California companies can make their server dollars go even farther, with the help of their local utility.

PG&E will soon begin offering financial incentives for companies that buy servers that have earned the Energy Star rating, according to Mark Bramfitt, who has headed PG&E’s outreach to data center customers. Bramfitt made the announcement Thursday at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Data Center Energy Efficiency Summit in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The Energy Star effort hopes to offer buyers an independent “apples to apples” method for comparing the energy efficiency of servers from major vendor. When PG&E customers choose Energy Star servers, the utility will make incentive payments to server vendors, who will then provide a discount to the end user customer.

Energy Star servers become the latest energy-saving technology included in PG&E’s High Tech Energy Efficiency program, which uses financial incentives to encourage data center operators to reduce their electricity use. In August 2006, PG&E became the first utility to offer rebates to business customers that implement virtualization and server consolidation projects.

The Energy Star for Enterprise Servers spec covers servers with one to four processors, and set efficiency goals for servers at full load and also when idle. For the moment, the selection of Energy Star servers is limited, as just 10 products have met the standard, including four Proliant servers from HP, three Lenovo ThinkServers, and three Primergy servers from Fujitsu.

PG&E gave out $7 million in incentives in energy reduction incentives in 2008, representing 7 megawatts of load reduction. the company has reserved $50 million for program spending from 2010 to 2012.

Data center operators that have received sizable rebate payments from PG&E include NetApp ($1.4 million), Fortune Data Centers ($900,000), 365 Main ($168,000) and Sonic.net ($129,000).

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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