Data centre energy management software company Power Assure has announced that its technology is the foundation of a new United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) baseline and monitoring methodology, AM0105: ‘Energy efficiency in data centres through dynamic power management.’ The methodology is based on elements of the proposal from Power Assure and Carbonomics, a carbon offset and trading company.
The aim of the UN methodology is to help data centre managers realise potential energy savings and carbon reduction. It’s particularly aimed at developing countries where carbon emission reduction credits can be sold to buyers in industrialised countries that have reduction targets to meet. Trading of these emission credits, under Kyoto's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), is now a multi-billion dollar market.
The financial incentives can help move data centres from an ‘always-on’ model to an ‘always-available’ model. Rather than having all data centre IT equipment and cooling systems on all the time, whatever the need, only equipment needed to support current applications are running at any one time.
Power Assure quotes a Gartner study that says that the number of data centres in developing countries is increasing faster than the rest of the world. This new methodology provides a mechanism for these data centres to monetise efficiency improvements, getting CERs (Certified Emission Reductions) that have an image value, as well as monetary value in the international carbon markets.
I’m not a great fan of carbon offsets, but carbon trading, in some form, is inevitable, if only as the result of legislation. In any case, with IT an essential tool in making business more carbon efficient, IT energy use is inevitably going to increase if we are to reach overall reduction targets, so offsets/credits pretty much have to be an element. The Power Assure’s contribution is helping the UN to regularise and support this carbon credits trade.