The recently enacted Energy Act of 2020 (the Act) covers a broad range of energy efficiency and research and development initiatives, including a few specifically targeting the data center industry. The portion of the Act addressing the data center industry outlines the following initiatives and next steps:
- Collaboration between the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency and key industry stakeholders, including data center operators and facility managers, to assess “specifications, measurements, best practices, and benchmarks” for increased energy efficiency.
- Publication of an in-depth report on data centers analyzing historical energy and water usage and efficiency, and suggesting best practices.
- Creation of an information-sharing initiative relating to energy usage at federally owned data centers to encourage further data center “innovation, optimization, and consolidation.”
- Establishment of a program to certify energy practitioners qualified to evaluate the energy usage and efficiency opportunities in federally owned and operated data centers.
This portion of the Act was advanced, in large part, by Congress’s desire to save costs and achieve greater efficiency for federal government data centers, but it also codifies a broader trend in the industry toward energy efficiency and “green” power. For years, hyperscalers and many data center providers have been working toward more energy efficient and sustainable practices, including commitments to carbon neutrality and the use of renewable energy sources, among other measures. Now, with the federal government moving more swiftly in the same direction, this trend could soon be the norm.
Data center operators and customers should continue to monitor implementation of the Act for opportunities to collaborate on best practices and participate in certification and incentive programs that may result from these new energy efficiency initiatives.