Mark Bramfitt on Data Centers and Utilities

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Mark Bramfitt, who has been the electric utility industry’s most visible ambassador to the data center sector, announced in November that he will be leaving his post at PG&E. Bramfitt has been a familiar face at industry conferences as PG&E has rolled out a series of incentive programs to encourage data center operators to conserve energy by using more efficient technology and products.

What’s ahead for Bramiftt? And what does his departure signal about the future of utility-level incentives for data centers? Jay Fry at Data Center Dialog has posted a two-part interview with Bramfitt that provides some additional information.

Bramfitt will be doing consulting focused on “better engagement between the utility and IT industries,” he says in the interview. That will include “driving nationwide activities that will hopefully yield big results.”

He also reflects on the challenges in helping data centers and utility providers work together on improved energy efficiency. “What has slowed us down, I think, is that the IT industry and IT managers had essentially no experience with utility efficiency programs three years ago,” he says. “It simply has taken us far longer than we anticipated to get the utility partnership message out there to the IT community.”

In Part 2 of the interview, Bramfitt discusses the Utility IT Energy Efficiency Coalition, a consortium organized by PG&E that now includes 50 power companies. He sees an opportunity for the group to be more effective in bridging disconnects between the utility industry and data center operators.

“I think it’s time for the coalition, in whatever form it takes in the future, to expand to offering the IT industry a view of what utilities are offering programs and how to engage with them, as well as a place for IT and other companies to list their competencies,” he said. “I’ll be frank, though, in saying that I don’t know whether PG&E will continue to lead this effort, or if we need to think about another way to accomplish this work.”

Go to Data Center Dialog to read the entire interview.

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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