Ireland has the potential to become a leading global provider of sustainable data centre solutions if it harnesses the expertise that exists and the opportunities which are developing in the sector. That’s the key takeaway from Data Centres 2021 – Power and Influence, a new report published by Echelon Data Centres, the international data centre infrastructure developer.
The report contains a series of independent thought-leadership articles by industry experts addressing the key issues pre-occupying the data centre sector in the third decade of the 21st Century. The over-arching theme of the publication is data centre sustainability, a subject that is at the forefront of any industry debate as data centres are accepted as essential infrastructure and their environmental and societal impacts require increasing levels of mitigation.
The 2021 reports and opinion pieces that make up the ‘Power and Influence’ collection have been submitted by leading organisations in their fields. They explore areas such as renewable energy provision and its symbiotic relationship with data centres, on-site energy generation and the potential of biogas and green hydrogen to end reliance on gas and diesel, battery technology, liquid cooling and increasing power usage efficiency, and ethical investing.
Together, the articles aim to provoke evolutionary thought as the data centre sustainability debate unfolds. Niall Molloy, Chief Executive Officer of Echelon Data Centres, believes that the sustainability agenda will continue to drive the way data centre infrastructure is designed, built and operated, and is set to become the one factor on which all decisions are made.
He says: “Sustainability is a strategic direction for Echelon Data Centres. We are committed to the provision of large-scale data centre infrastructure to meet the growing global demand for data and computing resource, and we’re committed to doing it sustainably, responsibly and with due regard for the environment.
“But we’re not simply making big statements. We understand sustainability to mean running Echelon in such a way that the business is profitable and also operates in a responsible manner as we work to fulfil our environmental and social goals.
“In the short term, this means half-way house solutions – such as on-site energy centres, powered by gas, and on-site biogas production facilities – neither of which are wholly ‘green’, but which are significant improvements on diesel back-up power generators, and which will smooth the transition to 100% renewable energy.
“In the medium to long term, we will take advantage of new opportunities and new technologies – liquid cooling, battery tech, green hydrogen, and direct supply of renewable energy – to minimise carbon footprint, to mitigate local impact, and to support the grid operator by reducing strain on over-burdened grid infrastructure.
“The ‘Data Centres 2021 – Power and Influence’ publication was prompted by Echelon’s goal of shifting towards a more sustainable future for the data centre sector. It contains some genuinely thought-provoking reflections and insight from industry leaders on key aspects of the journey that has begun.”
Echelon’s report demonstrates the expertise that exists throughout the supply chain in Ireland and shows that the country can become a leading global provider of sustainable data centre solutions if – with the support of government and state regulators – it harnesses the opportunities which are developing in the sector.