From Twittering to Facebook, from music downloads to streaming video, from email to e-books, the Internet is driving almost every part of our lives and as a result, the energy needed to run our data centre servers and communications infrastructure is increasing annually. In response, a number of cross-company consortiums, like the Green Grid, have been formed and with a symposium being held this week to discuss data centre efficiency, it seems only right to look at the increasing problems facing our over-worked servers.
Between 2000 and 2005, the energy consumed by such data centres doubled, both in the US and worldwide. As more and more people demand more from online media, then more power is needed to power the centres that keep the Internet and servers running. For the US in 2006, online data centres accounted for 1.5 percent of the entire country’s electricity use – equating to more than the entire state of Massachusetts.
Wind energy is the fastest developing renewable energy source in the US.
As of the end of this year’s second quarter, wind power in the United States had reached about 29,440MW of installed capacity, and in 2008 the nation surpassed Germany as the world’s largest producer of wind generated power. The US now even has the world’s largest wind farmin the shape of the Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas.
The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems.
The EU has big plans for its renewable energy future, and much attention has thus far been directed towards wind generated power, with nations such as the UK and Germany leading the way in making the most of Europe’s wind potential. For this reason, the European Commission’s latest plan to reduce carbon emissions by pumping a huge slice of the 50 billion euros available for research and development into solar power, may raise a few eyebrows.
Power generated from solar panels and carbon capture-and-store technology are the two major components of the EU’s plans, as the commission tries to demonstrate how it is taking the necessary steps to meet ambitious carbon cutting targets. The plan, due to be released tomorrow, is a direct attempt to raise the EU’s profile before the UN summit meeting in Copenhagen in December on reaching a new global agreement to curb climate change.