Information technology world has been slow to green-up, but now that appears to be changing, with about half of the managers surveyed in the Symantec study saying they were discussing, planning, or already implementing a green data centre. This is even with so much confusion globally about what a green data centre actually is.
Several significant events marked a turn-around in 2007.* Many computer-related companies took action to use more renewable energy over the course of the year. Google installed 1.6 MW of Sharp solar panels at its corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California. Meanwhile, Hewlett Packard (HP) signed an agreement with SunPower for a 1 MW solar installation at its San Diego facility, and offered HP employees rebates of up to $4000 to install panels on their own homes. Dell even publicly committed to neutralize its carbon impact worldwide, in part through increased use of green energy. For the first time, a 'Green500' list of most energy-efficient supercomputers was published. Launched by two college professors at Virginia Tech, the project aims to shift the industry's focus away from solely measuring computer worth based on speed - which tends to increase power consumption. In addition, several major information technology companies formed a consortium known as the 'Green Grid' aimed at making data centres more energy efficient.* The Global e-Sustainability Initiative, which includes such companies as HP, Microsoft, and Sun Microsystems, launched a study into the carbon emissions caused by computers, telecommunications and other information technology.The group hopes to avert a predicted doubling of greenhouse gases from the sector by 2020.
Also, the National Governors Association formed a partnership with Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a non-profit venture founded by Google and Intel. The Governors aim to reduce greenhouse gases through more efficiency in government use of computers. However, the most significant event of the year was the blockbuster announcement by internet search engine company Google that it plans to use its entrepreneurial knowhow to tackle one of the thorniest issues for the US renewable energy sector: how to make renewable energy cheaper than even the cheapest and most abundant fossil fuel - old king coal.'We have gained great experience in designing large-scale data systems, making them efficient and to scale,' said Larry Page, who co-founded Google in 1998 with Sergey Brin.'We're excited about using that knowledge and creativity in the energy area. Just providing energy for Google is not enough of a goal; we want to provide [renewable] energy that is cheap enough that it can replace a significant amount of energy used today,' he added.NOT LIKE BELL BOTTOMSGoogle's mission is to generate 1 GW of renewable energy that is cheaper than coal-fired generation.
The company intends to reach this goal, enough to power a city the size of San Francisco, within 'years not decades,' Page said during a media briefing.This is no small task, given that coal-fired generation costs as little as 1 to 3 cents/kWh and accounted for 49.03% of total US electricity in 2006, significantly higher than the average global use of 30%. But then, Google is no small company, being responsible for 60% of all internet searches in 2007. Its assets totalled more than $23 billion as of third quarter 2007 and annual revenue was more than $11.7 billion - growth that was achieved in less than a decade. Google's new venture is called RE
C is not 'just about solving a problem - it creates a gigantic opportunity.' But the effort is as much an act of corporate responsibility, as it is strategic investment.'It is a good business decision to create low-cost alternatives to coal, but there is an even greater social benefit,' said Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org, the company's philanthropic arm.