eco: More data center performance with fewer emissions – provided the energy transition works

Data centers are already significantly more climate-friendly than ten years ago, the association of the internet economy eco announced on the basis of a new study. This statement is based on the finding that the energy requirement when comparing the same amount of transmitted data is twelve times lower than in 2010. At the same time, the computing power required only increased tenfold in the same period.

The eco is also optimistic when it comes to looking to the future: Since 2015, the CO2ndEmissions from data centers in Europe are already declining and a decrease of 30 percent is expected by 2030. The origin of the electricity plays a decisive role here: In 2017, 30 percent of operators in Germany would have used only renewable energies.

At this point the eco looks at Germany and points to a local share of brown and hard coal of around 33 percent. A faster, politically controlled exit from coal would also quickly lead to lower CO2nd– Lead emissions from data centers. The current legal situation provides for an exit until 2038.

A look at the first results shows that the study also anticipates higher energy requirements in the future. In particular, the computing power of the servers would take up a higher share by 2030, while the energy requirements of the technical building equipment would play a smaller role.

From 2010 to 2020, energy consumption rose by 55 percent, but the study only envisages an increase of roughly ten percent for the next ten years. However, the study also indicates that opinions about the development of electricity demand also differ among experts – the calculations on which it is based can be readers on comprehend.

At the same time, the study still assumes lower CO2ndEmissions from. Here the numbers show that for data centers they increased slightly from 2010 to 2015 and fell slightly below the original level by 2020. This trend is expected to continue until 2025, but will then accelerate significantly in Europe by 2030. At this point, the eco also refers to France, because of the importance of nuclear energy, no major reductions can be expected from the country.

The study also considers that the type of performance requested by data centers is changing: the proportion of cloud systems has increased significantly since 2010, and this trend is expected to continue unabated until 2030. Edge data centers would also take a larger share in the future, while the importance of the classic data center is shrinking.

In conclusion, the study points out that new developments in IT would always take advantage of the increased performance of data centers. For example, AI applications and crypto mining would place a greater strain on the infrastructure. In the worst case, previously unknown uses would significantly increase energy requirements – but only with slightly higher CO2ndEmissions.

The effects of the development, production and disposal of data center infrastructure on energy requirements play no role in the current study. However, the eco points out that, according to some experts, the performance and efficiency improvements of the components would not continue as in the past fifty years – Moore’s and Koomey’s Law.

In his press release the eco also assumes that digitalization has the potential to save more emissions than data center operations cause – a potential that is three to ten times higher than the latter. The association also mentions Inger Paus, managing director of the Vodafone Institute and chair of the management of the Vodafone Foundation Germany: The study not only shows that data centers would continuously improve their ecological balance sheet, but also that they, as the backbone of digitalization, form an essential part of Solution.

At the same point, the eco mentions the cloud as an example of such potential: In addition to many other advantages, these organizations have reduced their electricity requirements by up to 84 percent. This is where Europe lags behind the rest of the world, because “only 26 percent of EU companies in 2018 [würden] paid cloud services “.

The study is the first part, the second should deal with possible developments and influences that can influence energy development.


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