Renewable Energy

Energy efficiency is always a great option to reduce your energy consumption, but combining this with renewable energy goes even farther to reduce your carbon footprint.? Generally, your options depend on where your data center is located, such as in a co-location facility, in a dedicated data center building, or inside a larger structure.

By far the most common way to integrate clean energy is to purchase offsite renewables. This can be done in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Utility Tariffs
  2. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
  3. Financial Contracts
  4. Retail Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
  5. Green Ridership Programs

Each of these renewable energy supply options can provide you RECs, which you would need to substantiate your use of green power; however, only direct project engagement supply options, for example PPAs, can provide electricity cost savings. Also, there may be additional considerations if your data center is in a multiuse facility or co-location facility. In this case, the renewable electricity would be used for a larger footprint than just the data center (or in the case of co-location facilities, for multiple data centers). An excellent resource to get started is The Guide to Purchasing Green Power, which provides information on the green power procurement process, different options, benefits, and information on how to maximize the benefit from your purchase.

Co-Location and cloud data centers have landlord-tenant relationships where the party responsible for purchasing electricity may not be the same party that uses it to power their servers.  In this case, in order to make use of green power, both parties must have a clear understanding through the data center contract as to who is responsible for buying the power and what resources the power will come from (e.g., renewable energy). The EPA Green Power Partnership offers a webinar with further information.

Further Resources:

  • The Future of Internet Power provides resources on greenhouse gas emission accounting for data centers and renewable energy in colocation facilities.