Next Generation Data Centres
Written by Allie Schratz, Editor of Business Review Australia
According to a March report published by the Climate Institute, Australia is the least prepared of the G20 nations to prosper in a low-carbon economy. The report says that the nation is the only advanced economy to have scored lower on its 2012 ‘low-carbon competitiveness index’ than in 1995, meaning that its dependence on un-environmental activities has increased since the last report was published.
The index is a compilation of three factors: how the country’s economy is currently structured to facilitate green activities; efforts being made to lower their carbon emissions; and investments in education and infrastructure. Considering that mining and coal exporting are huge industries here, Australia’s index took a major hit: the nation is now ranked 16th in the list of 19 G20 nations.
Fortunately, one Australian company is doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint by turning to solar-powered energy and setting up the nation’s largest privately-owned photovoltaic system on the rooftop of their Port Melbourne-based data centre. The company, called NEXTDC, is ANZ’s answer to efficient and enterprise-quality data centres that allow businesses to continue their IT operations without interruption.
NEXTDC’s new project, named “M1,” will involve a $1.2 million installation of up to 400kW of solar panels that will generate 550 megawatt hours of electricity –offsetting 670 tonnes of carbon emissions – per annum to this data centre. According to the project’s media release, this emissions amount is equivalent to that of 200 cars.
“Our installation of a large scale solar system is a first for data centres in Asia-Pacific and we are proud to be leading the way,” NEXTDC CEO Bevan Slattery said in the release. "We are proud to be the first data centre operator in Australia to invest in solar energy.”
According to Computerworld, the solar panels will provide 2-4 per cent of M1’s total energy requirements. Other eco-friendly plans for the building include using non-toxic paint, efficient lighting, user-controlled speed fans and air cooling technology.
And this is just the beginning: “We are also committing to install up to 1MW of solar energy within the next 12 months at our upcoming data centre facilities,” Mr Slattery said.
The M1 project is a joint effort between NEXTDC and solar power firm Energy Matters, whose website is a top-10 destination for worldwide customers looking to purchase solar and renewable energy online. Together, these two powerhouse companies are leading the commercial solar revolution in Australia and providing an encouraging step forward in the nation’s efforts to lower its carbon footprint.
“We are very aware of the future pressures on energy consumption and we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint however we can,” said Mr Slattery.
Now there’s a positive footprint to follow.