Top 10 Data Center Energy Stories of 2022

Sustainability efforts, renewable energy, the European energy crisis, and power grids dominated data center energy news in 2022.

Kate Shapiro, Contributor

December 13, 2022

4 Min Read
Financial data processing over solar panel and windmill against globe in background
Wavebreakmedia / Alamy

We analyzed Data Center Knowledge’s 10 most popular energy articles over the course of the last twelve months to show what’s driving data center energy news. 

Sustainability efforts from tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Meta Platforms made headlines this year, as did data center energy consumption and their impact on power grids. Rounding out the list is bitcoin mining and the European energy crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Here are the top 10 most-read energy stories in 2022:

Amazon's sustainability efforts top the most-read energy stories of 2022. The CSP secured an agreement with Applied Energy Services (AES) to provide 450MW of solar power in California, a deal that also included 225MW of energy storage. This deal is part of Amazon's larger efforts to power global operations with renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of their initial target.

To strengthen cybersecurity on U.S. power grids, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says standards are required to monitor equipment connected to bulk power systems. The proposed standards aim to find hackers within networks as opposed to focusing efforts simply on network perimeter defenses.

Related:Colo providers looking to clean energy alternatives: hydrogen and nuclear

In June, Irish regulators ordered a halt to construction on new data center projects without their own power stations. The action was meant to address the data center energy needs straining the aging electricity grid. In actuality, Data Center Knowledge reported that Irish data centers only used 25% of their reserved grid capacity.

The energy crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine dominated headlines this year. This story in particular was an early example of how the Ukraine-Russia conflict would leverage dependable access to energy as a weapon. In this instance, Yandex, said to be Russia’s version of Google, had power to its data center in Finland cut off by the local power company to align with sanctions levied on Russia by other nations in Western Europe.

European data center deals with Google and Meta Platforms were put on hold due to the energy crisis caused by Russia's war on Ukraine. Record high energy prices left European Union countries scrambling to figure out how to use less electricity while still scaling data centers to meet the population’s needs. Many projects are on hold until energy is more secure in Europe.

Ireland's power grid faced tight supply of energy this summer because of low wind, limited imports, and power plant outages. Ireland relies on the United Kingdom for 70% of their natural gas imports, more than many other countries, making it more vulnerable to the energy disruption from the war.

Crypto mining made a big splash this year. U.S. lawmakers demanded Bitcoin miners to turn over details about their facilities' energy consumption and impact on local energy prices. Bitcoin requires a great deal of energy to mine and the facilities typically have high carbon emissions, raising environmental concerns.

Crypto mining used nearly 25% of total electricity in the Argentinian Sierra del Fuego province. While crypto mining is booming in Argentina due to electricity subsidies, local officials worry that the resulting strain on the energy grid and outdated energy infrastructure may cause blackouts for residents.

To reduce carbon emissions, the Chinese government crafted a policy to let energy storage facilities buy and sell electricity. The policy aims to achieve carbon neutrality by creating incentives to make new energy storage profitable for operators. 

Energy Impact Partners, a venture capital firm backed by Microsoft, raised $200 million for a new investment arm called the Deep Carbonization Frontier Fund. The fund aims to combat climate change by investing in commercializing clean energy and manufacturing technologies.

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About the Author(s)

Kate Shapiro

Contributor, Data Center Knowledge

Kate Shapiro is a writer specializing in technology, business, and healthcare.  She has bylines in Business Insider, MTV News, and Esquire Magazine.

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