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DRT says big datacenters should be prepping now for new green regs

One of the topics we talk about in the newest installment of the Green HPC podcast series (posted here) is the regulatory inevitability of reducing your energy consumption. Even if you don’t own the energy bill, you’re going to have to care about how much energy you use, and where it goes.

Ted Samson has an article about this at Info World

If your organization has at least one datacenter, it’s time to prepare for a new round of regulation, such as the United States’ Waxman Markey bill, warns Jim Smith, CTO at Digital Realty Trust, owner and operator of datacenters around the globe. Carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems both in the United States and abroad will cause fluctuation in energy prices; plus, they’ll force companies to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. Further, even companies headquartered in the United States might feel the regulatory sting from the United Kingdom.

The regulatory sting he’s talking about is the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), a scheme that requires about 5,000 large users of energy in the UK to report their usage and, eventually, be taxed on that use. Of course there’s all the trouble of measuring and reporting, but then there are the knock on effects of these changes in the energy infrastructure, including price volatility

Among the effects of a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, it’s “going to change the face of power economics in the United States,” Smith says. “It’s going to have an intersection of carbon as a price — carbon externalities will be priced in the power market — and it’s going to have a collision with the state of deregulation in the United States.”

If you pair those two opposites and add carbon regulation, you end up with volatile energy prices, Smith warns. “For end-users like those of us on the datacenter side that consume quite a bit of energy, the main impact is: You need to plan for the volatility of your energy costs. Things are going to change. I can’t tell you exactly how they are going to change because it remains to be seen, but you need to be prepared for changes in your budgets and your actual costs.”

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