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Green cloud and green data centres

The Commission is exploring measures to improve the energy efficiency and circular economy performance in cloud computing and data centres.

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Digital technologies can offer green solutions to different sectors of the economy. Equally important is the ‘greening’ of the digital sector itself.

It has been estimated that digital technologies account for between 5 to 9% of the global electricity consumption. This is likely to increase with digitisation and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and blockchain. This may lead to problematic increase of greenhouse gas emissions if no proper action is taken.

The European Commission conducted a study on Energy-efficient Cloud Computing Technologies and Policies for an Eco-friendly Cloud Market addressing the issue of growing energy consumption due to the expansion of cloud services in Europe.

Possible scenarios for the development of energy demand of data centers

 

The topic of energy-efficient cloud computing has become a priority for the EU. Data centres need to become more energy efficient, reuse waste energy such as heat, and use more renewable energy sources, with a view to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

To meet this goal, the Commission will rely on a mix of existing instruments, reviews of existing legislation and new initiatives.

Existing instruments include:

The Commission aims to link energy efficient data centres to future policy and funding initiatives, notably through:

The Commission is currently conducting a study to address the lack of commonly accepted definitions and methods to assess the energy-efficiency, climate-neutrality and overall sustainability of data centres: 'Greening cloud computing and electronic communications services and networks: towards climate neutrality by 2050'.

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Are you a public procurer in Europe who completed an innovation procurement that led to significant improvements of public goods, services, processes or infrastructure? Apply for the award by 30 April 2021. There is also a specific award category for outstanding innovation procurement in ICT. The award is part of the activities of the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project Procure2Innovate that is setting up a European network of national competence centres around Europe.

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