De Sutter wants to reduce the ecological footprint of data centers

© BELGA

Minister of Telecom Petra De Sutter (Green) wants to make the data centers in our country more sustainable. She said this on Monday during a visit to the data center of the LCL company in Gembloux (Namur).

gjsSource: BELGA

Data centers rent out space on their servers on which companies can store their data. Their ecological impact is significant. A study by the European Commission shows that European data centers together consumed 77 terawatt hours in 2018 and that their consumption is expected to rise to 98.5 TWh (+28 percent) by 2030. Moreover, according to a study by the Belgian telecom regulator BIPT, sustainability is not a priority for the sector.

Minister De Sutter therefore wants to improve the environmental performance of the data centers. For example, conducting audits is a possibility, but one can also think about drawing up clear standards for all players in the sector. “Investing in renewable energy is also a concrete path and there are certainly other paths we can work on. The issue of financial incentives also comes into play here,” she said.

Don’t wait for Europe

She also adds that Europe is working on sustainability and is currently reviewing the energy efficiency directive. However, concrete agreements are only expected within several years. “So I want to quickly open talks at the Belgian level,” says De Sutter.

LCL has not waited for Belgium or Europe to invest in sustainability. In January, for example, it co-founded the Data Center Pact for climate neutrality. This initiative supports the European Green Deal, which aims to be climate neutral by 2030.

To achieve its sustainability goals, LCL began using ‘HV0100’ to run its five data centers. This alternative to diesel emits at least 90 percent less CO2. In addition, the company is investing heavily in solar panels, which should eventually produce a total of 1.6 MW of electricity.

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