[XGNews]: Internet enterprise carbon neutralization starts from the upstream of the industrial chain

The following is the [XGNews]: Internet enterprise carbon neutralization starts from the upstream of the industrial chain recommended by xgapn.com.

In December 2020, at the central economic work conference, the Chinese government put forward eight key tasks to be done well in 2021, including carbon peaking and carbon neutralization, and reiterated that China’s carbon dioxide emission will strive to reach the peak by 2030 and achieve the goal of carbon neutralization by 2060.

As the “vanguard” to promote the development of China’s digital economy, it is incumbent on the Internet industry to actively respond to the strategy. However, in April 2021, the international environmental protection organization “Greenpeace” released the ranking list of “green cloud 2021”, and said that China’s Internet technology industry has improved in the use of renewable energy, but the overall carbon neutralization action lags behind, which is seriously inconsistent with its image of “fast innovator”.

How should Chinese Internet enterprises make the “first move” to practice carbon neutrality?

Find out the “biggest Crux” right now

With the vigorous development of the digital economy, the Internet industry has ushered in explosive growth. As an important bottom support for the Internet industry and the digital economy, the data center industry has also ushered in a golden period of development. According to the forecast of Kezhi consulting, by 2023, the market scale of China’s IDC business will reach 486.79 billion yuan, with a three-year compound growth rate of 29.6%.

Figure: Forecast of IDC business market scale in China from 2020 to 2023 (100 million yuan)

However, the data center is a high energy consuming field, with 7x24x365 running continuously and huge power consumption. More importantly, about 70% of its power supply still comes from coal.

Therefore, whether it is to build a self built data center or choose a service provider for hosting, the primary consideration is the pue value and the overall green level, which can be said to be the best starting point for Internet enterprises to practice carbon neutrality at present.

Internationally, some Internet companies have realized the application of green power data center. In 2013 and 2018, Google successively built data centers using renewable energy in Taiwan Province and Belgium; In 2018, Microsoft built a data center providing 100% renewable power in Sweden, significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The traditional power supply mode of multi place power rationing data center has come to a dead end?

Compared with foreign countries, there is still a long way to go for the carbon neutralization of the data center of the vast majority of Internet enterprises in China.

In December 2020, the national development and Reform Commission, the central network information office, the Ministry of industry and information technology and the National Energy Administration issued the guiding opinions on accelerating the construction of the collaborative innovation system of the national integrated big data center, which proposed to optimize the infrastructure construction layout of the data center and accelerate the intensive, large-scale and green development of the data center.

This means that the data center can no longer be widely constructed as in the past, but should be centrally developed and laid out in specific areas and paths. At the same time, we should promote the construction of green data center and speed up the energy-saving and green transformation of data center through innovative application of mechanism and technology.

Recently, the news of power restriction came out in many places. Shenyang, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Henan and other provinces have issued power restriction measures at the municipal level.

On the one hand, it can be seen from the barometer of the completion of the dual control target of energy consumption in all regions in the first half of 2021 issued by the national development and Reform Commission in August 2021 that the completion of the dual control target of energy consumption in all regions of China is grim as a whole. On the other hand, some insiders pointed out that power rationing in many places is mainly due to the strong economic recovery and rapid growth of power demand in coastal cities after the epidemic. At the same time, coal prices rose sharply, coal supply was tight, thermal power enterprises suffered losses and power generation output was insufficient. This is undoubtedly the lifeblood of most data centers that still rely on coal power.

The data center carrying the “original sin” of energy consumption is also an important “base” for the development of digital economy. Once a power outage comes, how can we ensure the stable operation of business? According to the conventional practice, the power supply is stopped and the data center can be maintained by diesel power generation, but in the long run, it is obviously contrary to the carbon neutralization policy guidelines.

The multiple power rationing shows us that under the increasingly detailed policy requirements and increasingly severe coal power supply, the traditional energy supply mode of data center seems to have come to a dead end.

However, at this time, the “integration of source, network, load and storage” of the green power system taking the carbon neutralization policy as an opportunity is more significant for the realization of the long-term strategy. It is understood that one of the purposes of “source network load storage integration” is to consume clean energy more stably, effectively and reliably, and its proportion of clean energy is higher than that of traditional power system. Through the flexible coordination and complementarity between clean energy such as wind and light and traditional power resources, the utilization efficiency of renewable energy can be effectively improved. At the same time, as a key supporting technology for the large-scale development of renewable energy, energy storage plays an important role as a “charging treasure” in the system. It is used as a load to charge when the power consumption is low, and as a power source to release electric energy when the power consumption is peak. It provides peak shaving, frequency modulation, standby, demand response and other services for the power grid, so as to realize the stable power supply of green and clean energy.

It can be said that the “integration of source, network, load and storage” is a “fish and bear” development data center, pointing out a feasible ice breaking direction.

It is difficult to fight alone

However, data centers and green power are heavy asset areas. For most Internet enterprises, “fighting alone” is obviously not “economic” and has many difficulties.

The completion of a data center involves the whole life cycle operation including planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance. At this stage, most Internet enterprises do not have the ability to implement by themselves and the corresponding resource acquisition channels.

In addition, carbon neutralization in the data center not only uses clean energy for power generation, but also needs peak shaving power supply and energy storage facilities to build a complete power supply system that meets the business requirements of the data center. The construction of corresponding renewable energy facilities or the purchase of green certificates and carbon trading will increase the investment cost, which will also make Internet enterprises bear more capital pressure and even have to slow down the pace of business layout, which is “fatal” for the “only fast” Internet industry.

Win win cooperation and breaking the situation

When Internet carbon neutralization becomes a “must do” fact, and facing the capital cost pressure of self built green data center, self built renewable energy facilities or purchasing green certificates and carbon trading, where is the way for Internet enterprises to “break the situation” in carbon neutralization?

Choosing and cooperating with a third-party IDC provider with green power data center construction and operation capability will become one of the best solutions on the road of carbon neutralization for Internet enterprises. On the one hand, the data center is established by a neutral third-party IDC provider, which has rich experience and ability in both professionalism and resources; On the other hand, the green power data center also eliminates the cost for Internet enterprises to build renewable energy facilities alone, purchase green certificates and conduct carbon trading, allowing Internet enterprises to put more funds on business development and realize carbon neutralization from the source at the lowest cost.

At present, China’s third-party IDC providers have accumulated rich experience in building green data center clusters, such as Heying data. According to public data, phase I of Heying data (Huailai) science and Technology Industrial Park covers a total area of nearly 500 mu, with more than 50000 installed cabinets, more than 500000 servers and a total power supply of one million KVA. It is reported that Heying data has built a demonstration project of “integration of source, network, load and storage” by using sufficient local wind and solar energy resources in Zhangjiakou, aiming to build an innovative integration system of “green energy supply + green energy consumption”, which can make the pue value of data center cluster below 1.25. For the construction carbon source and operation carbon source generated in the data center, Heying data takes a multi pronged approach from the perspectives of architectural design, waste heat recovery and refrigeration equipment, and uses the latest technologies and concepts to minimize energy consumption, improve energy efficiency and reduce pue and cue values.

In a word, it is an excellent choice for Internet enterprises to start from the upstream of the industrial chain. With the increasingly strict energy control, according to the relevant policy guidelines for renewable energy in China, whether choosing a green IDC provider as server hosting or cooperating with it to build a green data center in the future, it will make a key contribution to Internet enterprises in fulfilling their social responsibilities, building carbon and labels and improving their corporate image.

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