The Renewable Energy Challenge

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In coming years, the data center industry will face growing pressure to find workable ways to integrate renewable energy sources into projects. The demand is being driven by two trends: the growth of corporate social responsibility programs that focus on carbon neutrality, and the potential for federal legislation in the U.S. that will place caps on carbon emissions.

But most renewable energy sources come with a premium price tag and have problems reaching the scale required to successfully support the power requirements of an entire data center.

In Special Report: Data Centers and Renewable Energy, we look at the challenges of implementing renewable energy solutions in data centers, and also highlight early adopters who have implemented on-site renewable solutions.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief 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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  1. http://basque-hpc.blogspot.com/2008/12/where-can-i-host-hpc-center-part-it.html an abandoned, never used nuclear power plant by the sea, where there are two projects to obtain energy from the waves.

  2. Rich, this topic, like containers, is beginning to gather steam. I still haven't figured out if it is eco-concern or simply the right thing to do, but I am glad to see that folks in our industry are taking risks to find new ways of doing things. There are some progressive utilities out there - Austin, TX and San Antonio come to mind right off the bat, as does SMUD (Sacramento, CA) as the early adopters and likely candidates to be first in offering competitive pricing for electricity generated at wind farms in West Texas. Downside is that they need to recover the costs of those investments so the electricity carries a premium. I think that operators need to figure out a way to factor the premium in and absorb it through exceptional management of the efficiency and keep it competitive. Those that do will capture quite a bit of business. If price is equal and it comes down to green power or not, green wins IMHO. I am working with a company that has some interesting fuel cell technology that can work at data center load levels (it's not Bloom Energy), and I really wish T. Boone pickens would stop the arm waving about the benefits of natural gas and call me to discuss creating a commercial success story for Natural Gas, like a carbon neutral data center. I'm just sayin....