Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Climate Change Agreement Implemented for Data Centre Industry

After four years of negotiations between industry representatives and the government, the UK's data centres now have an official climate change agreement (CCA) active and in place.  In addition to helping the sector meet its energy conservation and emission reduction goals, implementation of the CCA is official recognition of the importance of the data centre industry to the UK economy.

The UK has been seen for quite a while as a leader in collocation, networking and information technology in general.  Nevertheless, until now, the government has failed to officially recognise how important the sector is to the overall economic survival and viability of Britain.  The implementation of the new CCA changes that.  The government now see that the UK economy can only continue leading the way in Europe if the data centre sector remains strong.

According to a report in Computer Weekly, there are now some 217 data centres around the UK.  Among them, 67 are located in the London area.  The data centres combine to offer more than 7.6 million square meters of data centre space covering both commercial and public needs.  The implementation of the new CCA should help to boost that space in the coming years by making companies involved in the sector more competitive.

Climate change agreements are government-industry agreements that establish clear benchmarks for reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  When companies meet their targets they are eligible for a reduction of, or full exclusion from, carbon taxes.  Right now, more than 50 energy-intensive industries are part of the CCA scheme.

A Logical Conclusion

The amount of energy necessary to run the average data centre is such that having more than 200 facilities in the UK automatically qualifies the sector as energy intensive.  It was only a matter of time before the government recognised the need for CCA for colocation providers.

As for the new agreement, it requires data centres to reduce their non-IT energy consumption by 30%.  The use of certain energy efficiency strategies will result in significant cost savings which, when combined with reduced carbon taxes, make the UK data centre sector more competitive with the rest of the European market.  Moreover, a more competitive sector will ultimately result in a better business environment in the UK.

The CCA will also influence future data centres yet to be built.  Companies will have to take the standards set by the agreement and incorporate them into any new designed and built facility.  These new facilities will be more energy-efficient right from the start and, therefore, more competitive.

As you would expect, the news of the CCA has been well received by industry representatives and executives.  The general opinion is that the agreement has been a long time in coming and one that was necessary to keep the data centre industry strong in Britain.  Now we will have to see if the industry responds in the way everyone is hoping and expecting it will.

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