Data Centers "Go Green" Energy Consumption "Slimming" (Economic Focus)

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  The data center is a key link in energy saving and consumption reduction of new infrastructure, and it is also a powerful tool for promoting carbon reduction and efficiency increase in the whole society.

In recent years, the scale of data centers in my country has continued to grow, and it is imperative to promote the green transformation and upgrading of data centers.

By optimizing the power supply structure, increasing the proportion of green electricity use, and green and intelligent operation, more and more data centers have achieved energy conservation and consumption reduction, effectively serving the development of the digital economy.

  Recently, six departments including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced the list of national green data centers in 2021, including 44 data centers in the fields of communications, Internet, energy, and finance.

So far, my country has established three batches of 153 national green data centers.

  As the "base" of the digital economy, my country's data centers have achieved rapid growth in recent years.

Promoting the green development of data centers is not only conducive to the sustainable development of the digital economy, but also a key link in energy conservation and consumption reduction of new infrastructure.

  What does a green data center look like?

How to better guide the data center to take a low-carbon and efficient green development path?

The reporter conducted an interview.

  What does a green data center look like?

  Adopt high-efficiency power supply and distribution system, high utilization ratio of green electricity, intelligent operation to reduce energy consumption

  In the GDS No. 11 data center located in Shunyi District, Beijing, more than 2,000 neatly arranged cabinets are running in an orderly manner in a computer room of over 15,000 square meters.

Thousands of miles away, relying on the real-time scheduling of data center computing power, users can smoothly watch videos on their mobile phones.

  The data center supports powerful computing power, but also bears a large pressure on energy consumption.

As a key energy-consuming unit, energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement are difficult problems that enterprises must overcome.

  "Currently, the PUE (Power Utilization Efficiency) of Beijing No. 11 data center has reached 1.22." Yang Tao, vice president of GDS, calculated that under full load, the green data center can save about 10 million electricity per year kWh.

  Energy consumption "slim down", what is the secret?

Walking into the data center, the answer is gradually revealed——

  On the power supply side, the dual-channel uninterrupted power supply is changed to a single-channel high-voltage DC power supply.

"By adjusting the power supply structure, while reducing the power consumption, the power consumption efficiency is also improved." Yang Tao said, not only that, through the procurement and use of green electricity, the data center has achieved a low-carbon transformation.

"Currently, the company's use of green electricity in data centers across the country has reached 34%."

  On the power consumption side, the energy consumption monitoring system is used to realize green and intelligent operation.

Step into the data center monitoring platform, and on the large screen, multiple data curves change in real time.

"Energy saving and efficiency increase depends on refined operation." Yang Tao introduced that by dynamically monitoring key indicators such as server load changes, indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, and HVAC equipment operating frequency, it can effectively guide decision-making, optimize equipment calls, and achieve accurate cooling.

  "Compared with traditional data centers, green data centers have the characteristics of less resource consumption, high energy utilization, and strong operation and maintenance level." Chen Ying, secretary-general of the Chinese Institute of Electronics, believes that the construction of green data centers should not only reduce consumption through advanced technologies and solutions To improve efficiency, comprehensive utilization of energy resources, utilization of clean and renewable energy, green operation and maintenance management, recycling of waste electronic products, etc. should also be considered in multiple dimensions, so as to achieve a synergistic breakthrough in energy supply and energy consumption.

  GDS is a microcosm of the green construction of my country's data centers.

Thanks to the vigorous development of the digital economy, whether it is the transformation of traditional data centers or the expansion of new data centers, green data centers are rapidly expanding from point to point.

According to the relevant person in charge of the Department of Energy Conservation and Comprehensive Utilization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, my country has established three batches of 153 national green data centers.

In addition, 5 batches of 157 advanced and applicable technologies were selected and promoted to accelerate the green and low-carbon development of data centers.

  In July last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the "Three-Year Action Plan for the Development of New Data Centers (2021-2023)" and proposed that by the end of 2023, the PUE of new large-scale and above data centers should drop below 1.3.

The setting of hard indicators and timetables will further accelerate the popularization of green data centers.

  Why build a green data center?

  The demand for data storage, computing and applications has increased significantly, and it is imperative to save energy and reduce consumption

  When the green energy guided by the dual carbon goals and the digital economy driven by emerging technologies converge, greening becomes the proper meaning of new data center construction.

  From the perspective of the industry itself, data centers are a key link in energy conservation and consumption reduction of new infrastructure.

  According to the "National Data Center Application Development Guidelines (2020)" report released by the Information and Communication Development Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, by the end of 2019, the total number of data center racks in use in my country exceeded 3 million, with an average annual growth rate of more than 30% in the past five years.

  "As a large power consumer, the growth of data centers will inevitably bring about a substantial increase in energy consumption." Chen Ying said, according to estimates, the total power consumption of the national data centers in 2020 will account for about 1.5%-1.9% of the national total electricity consumption in the same period. %.

At the same time, with the rapid development of a new generation of information technology, the demand for data resource storage, computing and application has increased significantly, and the old equipment that has been upgraded and eliminated in the data center also needs to be standardized to avoid environmental pollution, and green transformation is imminent.

  From a broader perspective, data centers are also a powerful tool for promoting carbon reduction and efficiency enhancement in the whole society.

  "The cloud services of data centers will have a multiplier effect on energy conservation and consumption reduction in thousands of industries." Liang Jiaqi, head of the dual-carbon project of Tencent Cloud Data Center, proposed that using computing power to empower the digital transformation of traditional industries will help more industries to achieve green develop.

  According to the "14th Five-Year Plan for Information and Communication Industry Development", by 2025, the computing power of national data centers will reach 3.3 times that of 2020.

"Accelerating the construction of green data centers has become a basic requirement to ensure the sustainability of resources and the environment, which will help the whole society to improve the efficiency of energy and resource utilization, and help achieve the goal of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality." The relevant person in charge of the Department of Energy Conservation and Comprehensive Utilization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. .

  Where is the low-carbon and high-efficiency road?

  Actively explore and promote advanced green technologies and continuously improve the level of renewable energy supply

  Although the construction of green data centers has achieved remarkable results, compared with the growing demand for computing power, the overall level is still not high, and the green development of the industry is facing new challenges.

  From the electricity consumption side, advanced green technologies and product applications need to be promoted.

  "In recent years, there have been many green technologies emerging in the industry, but there are still situations where they are afraid to use or are not easy to use." Yang Tao said, for example, the liquid cooling system is efficient in cooling, but it is subject to issues such as security and deployment mode. Insufficient promotion.

The continuous improvement of technology and its good effect depends on the coordinated efforts of the industrial chain to create an open and friendly ecological environment.

  At present, many companies are actively exploring new technologies.

In November 2020, the Gaotang Comprehensive Energy Station constructed by State Grid Ningbo Power Supply Company was put into use, and its data center became the first liquid-cooled box-type computer room in Zhejiang Province, which can save more than 430,000 kWh of electricity every year.

The immersion liquid cooling technology developed by Alibaba Cloud has also been opened to the public. By immersing the server in a closed liquid, the heat generated can be quickly carried away by the cooling liquid into the external circulation, reducing energy consumption by more than 70%.

  From the power supply side, the supply level of renewable energy still needs to be improved.

  "For enterprises, there are challenges in purchasing renewable energy on a large scale." Liang Jiaqi said that clean energy is usually directly connected to the Internet, and it is difficult to purchase electricity that is 100% provided by renewable energy through the power grid; The scale of the transaction has not yet formed, which also restricts the continuous improvement of the green level of the data center to a certain extent.

  Under the challenges, opportunities emerge.

Not long ago, the "East Number and West Calculation" project was officially launched, and the overall layout design of the national integrated big data center system was completed.

In Chen Ying's view, "through the 'East and West Count' project, guiding the establishment of the data center industry in the west will effectively increase the use of clean and renewable energy such as scenery and water in the west, and achieve an effective balance between industrial supply and energy consumption. "

  "In the next step, data centers will be encouraged to explore in the fields of layout optimization, technological innovation, direct green power purchase, energy storage and cascade utilization, and speed up the construction of a new situation for green data centers." The relevant person in charge of the Department of Energy Conservation and Comprehensive Utilization of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. .

  Our reporter Han Xin