The debate about the implementation of a carbon tax in Australia may be heating up, but major data centre providers are keeping relatively cool despite the implications of such a tax on the ICT industry.
Fujitsu Australia director of sustainability, Chris Seale, said data centre providers should take advantage of the upcoming price on carbon as an additional impetus to their existing programs for minimising carbon emissions.
“Best practice is already focused on energy efficiency at the data centre and this of course can directly translate to a carbon benefit,” he said. “A carbon tax will bring increases in energy costs but energy prices have been rising steadily and are forecast to continue to do so.
“These price increases will have been factored into the planning of data centre operations accordingly as will plans to attempt to mitigate them.
Vocus general manager data centres, Jon Eaves, said despite the surprise re-emergence of the spectre of a carbon tax, data centre providers had factored in the prospect of a Green tariff for some time.
“A carbon tax has been talked about for three years now, and if it hits the data centre area or if it hits normal carbon emissions — power stations then moving down the food chain –it will have a dramatic effect on our industry,” he said.
“A lot of the older facilities which have generation one data centre capabilities will find their customers leaving for generation three data centres which have greener functionality.”
Seal agreed but said Gillard's announcement would give greater certainty which will strengthen business cases.
“The announcement will also bring additional focus and media attention to the issues; in particular we can anticipate much debate around increases in energy prices,” he said. “This could well see energy efficiency rise up in the priority rankings for buyers of data centre space and data centre services.”
The increased need recently for greener data centres has pushed some organisation rethink local colocation and data centre management strategies.
Organisations also need to be mindful of the fact that a carbon tax and trading scheme was about more than data centres, Eaves said.
“If it hits, it will hit massive amounts of IT infrastructure and the building overall,” he said.
“Every office has desktops, dual or triple screens… your power bill is going to go up exponentially and the data centre will go up accordingly.”
Data centre carbon tax checklist
Fujitsu’s Seale advised there were definite actions that centre providers should take in response to the recent announcements.
- Make sure they understand the proposed policy and its implications
- Review the plans they have for integrating a price on carbon
- Re-evaluate recent business cases: Are any of these impacted by higher energy prices or tax implications
- Review the energy mix at the data centre and consider supplementing a greater percentage from on site renewable energy
- Ensure they are providing adequate transparency in their reporting to their customers
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