Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 61 - Page 71

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Green Technology

Volkswagen AG aims to make data centres climate-neutral by 2027

Accelerating its decarbonisation strategy , Volkswagen AG has set itself the ambitious goal to make its data centres net carbon-neutral by 2027 . This would be three years earlier than foreseen in the European Green Deal , under which European data centre operators agreed to make their data centres climateneutral by 2030 .

To achieve this goal , Volkswagen has expanded its data centre operations at Green Mountain , a Norwegian operator of CO 2
- neutral data centres . All servers at Green Mountain run on 100 % renewable electricity generated by hydropower and are cooled naturally by the adjacent fjord .
“ Green IT is a key topic on our ESG agenda . While technology is the key driver for more efficiency , an improved customer experience and new business models , IT accounts for about 3 % of global CO 2
₂ emissions ,” said Hauke Stars , Member of the Board of Management , IT and Digitalisation . “ Given the rising demand for computing power and data storage to enable Volkswagen Group ’ s NEW AUTO strategy , a sustainable IT roadmap with ambitious goals is paramount to systematically reduce our carbon footprint . With data centres being the biggest contributor of carbon emissions in IT , expanding our computing capacity at Green Mountain is a strong lever to make our data centre operations carbon-neutral by 2027 .”
The cooperation with Green Mountain started back in June 2019 , when Volkswagen Group opened its data centre operations at Green Mountain ’ s RJU1-Rjukan site in Telemark , Norway . The goal was to outsource nontime-critical , high-performance computing projects like crash-test simulations to free up capacity in Volkswagen Group ’ s data centres at the headquarters needed for critical business applications . In total , Volkswagen Group has six data centre operations worldwide , three in Wolfsburg , two in Norway and one in Singapore .
With Volkswagen AG ’ s latest expansion to Green Mountain ’ s SVG1-Rennesøy data centre , one-quarter of the group ’ s global computing power requirements will run carbon-neutrally . This corresponds to annual
CO 2
₂ savings of 10,000 tons . The renewable power used for Volkswagen ’ s data centre operation at Green Mountain would be sufficient to provide 500 households with green electricity for one year .
“ We appreciate the renewed trust Volkswagen has placed in us and are pleased to support it on its journey towards full carbon-neutrality ,” said Tor Kristian Gyland , CEO of Green Mountain . “ Together we share the same vision of a more sustainable future .”
For the new site at SVG1-Rennesøy , Green Mountain converted a former high-security NATO ammunition storage facility into a unique 22,600 m ² highsecurity mountain hall colocation data centre . The infrastructure has been designed to be expanded up to 2 x 26MW , with Volkswagen using 3MW of capacity . For the cooling , which in traditional data centres accounts for an 40 % to 80 % of the electricity required to power the servers , SVG1-Rennesøy takes advantage of the adjacent deep-water fjord reaching 100m , with a constant water temperature of 8C all year round .
In Norway , 98.9 % of the electricity production is renewable , with the majority generated from hydropower . Hydropower has both a minimal carbon footprint as well as marginal ecological impact . The Norwegian government vigorously promotes the utilisation of power from renewable energy sources for new branches of industry , for example , in climate-neutral data centres . Tax breaks , low energy prices and stable political conditions make Norway an ideal location for green IT . p
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