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Climate neutral clouds? What we need to achieve climate neutral, highly energy efficient and sustainable data centres in Europe by 2030

  • Published on January 10, 2022

In spite of significant improvements in the energy efficiency of data centre infrastructure in recent years, a booming expansion of digital services continues to drive the electricity demand up, and the growth has already more than offset the efficiency gains3. To achieve climate targets, it is important to bring this rising demand under control.

The European Commission has set a goal of achieving climate neutral, highly energy efficient and sustainable data centres by 2030. The existing policy aimed at managing data centre energy demand, however, is underdeveloped and a comprehensive and widely accepted method for assessing energy efficiency of data centres is missing. Without an appropriate performance metric, we cannot monitor progress towards the target, let alone set requirements towards achieving it.

In this briefing we highlight the shortcomings of current metrics and call for action that will ensure the development of an assessment method and deliverance of climate neutral data centres by 2030, urging the European Commission to take the necessary measures.

Data centres are the factories of the digital world. As digital services move into the cloud, their energy consumption moves into data centres and their environmental impact becomes invisible to users. We need to move from what is currently at best wishful thinking to taking action that will ensure deliverance of climate neutral, highly energy efficient and sustainable data centres by 2030.

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