Data Centers and a Cleaner, Greener Future?

Christopher Hankin photo

As we enter an increasingly digital and mobile economy, the promise of greater operational efficiency for businesses, consumers, and governments is obvious.   So, too, is the need for greater reliance on data centers.   What may not be as obvious is what this means for a cleaner, greener future, or, as Google queried at their large forum earlier this year, how green is the internet?

I expect to have fun further exploring this question at several upcoming events.  First is next Tuesday's Beveridge & Diamond workshop in Palo Alto, entitled "Data Center Environmental Compliance and Sustainability.”  I'll be joining B&D's Dan Eisenberg, eBay's Dean Nelson, and EMC's Kathrin Winkler on a panel exploring the new energy and green procurement initiatives impacting data centers.  It'll be a nice chance to get the lawyers and the practitioners together in a room talking about the government's proper role.   

Speaking of Dean Nelson, on Sept. 26th, he and eBay will host a forum called, "Powering Cleaner Greener Commerce," to accompany the opening of their new data center in South Jordan, Utah.  A panel of experts from industry, academia, and government will discuss "how to continue to advance the digital economy while also driving toward a cleaner, greener future -- and the latest technical infrastructure innovation and policy helping to make that transition."  The South Jordan data center is eBay's newest and largest, and is the first data center in the world to use Bloom Energy fuel cells as on-site, primary power.  This video describes some of the innovations that eBay is deploying with its world-class facility.  The opening should serve as a great context for the panel.

In October, I am working with ITIF on an event we are planning for October 9th with U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo.  Tentatively titled, "Next-Gen Data Centers: Bringing Energy Efficiency to Government," the event will recognize that increasingly stringent budget constraints are pushing agencies to look hard at ways they can reduce costs and increase productivity while also reducing energy usage and GHG emissions.  These pressures create new opportunities for the government to change in transformative ways that produce multiple benefits.  A key enabler in this regard is the data center.  The event will explore new data center innovations, the importance of government/industry partnerships in this regard, and the relevance of the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act (HR 540 and S. 1261, introduced earlier this year by Reps. Eshoo and Mike Rogers and Senators Mark Udall and Jim Risch). 

We plan to blog on the discussions from all these events.

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