Looking to the IT department for leadership about sustainability is really a splendid opportunity to look closely at the “spinal cord” of the corporation or organization. After all, the biggest product and business process innovations will have to be affected by or directly affect the IT infrastructure. The urgency and the critical nature of looking at the energy spend today is directed by the utility industry’s move toward demand based pricing.
In Europe, for several years, consumers and businesses could earn more favorable rates if they used less energy during peak hours. This way of charging for energy is coming to the US as well. So during peak air conditioning and lighting hours, prices go up. The “Critical Peak Pricing (CPP) benefits you on weekdays in the summer season by reducing or shifting your energy usage away from the noon to 6 p.m. peak period during 12 or fewer CPP events. In exchange for this, you will receive a discount on all part and on-peak usage on all other days of the summer period that starts May 1 and ends October 31.” says the PG&E website.
With the ability to switch data processing over to geographical areas not affected by the peak pricing, data centers can avoid the higher priced energy – if they are prepared and if they receive advance notice – enough to send processing elsewhere. Other options? Well, perhaps a container full of natural gas in your parking lot or on your building rooftop to offset demand, rather like an extra generator.
On the PG&E website, you can find PDFs presentations from the High Tech team. One of my favorite ones shows California holding steady while demand grows elsewhere across the USA– and that is before we had the software in place to shift demand outside the geographic area with a button. Now where will that processing go? I think we can move it anywhere your data center is - off shore as well as out of the region. Something to think about. Have a green day!