Green Grid and BCS Warn About “Risky” UK Carbon Rules

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The Green Grid and BCS are teaming up to help companies adhere to new carbon regulations and to develop a data centre simulator tool

The UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment represents a large risk to the UK IT industry, and not enough companies are preparing for it, according to the Green Grid and the BCS.

Speaking to eWeek Europe UK this week as part of a wider partnership between the two groups, John Tuccillo, chairman of the board for international data centre energy specialist The Green Grid , and Zhal Limbuwala, chair of the BCS data centre specialist group, warned that although the UK may be progressing faster than the US with environmental legislation, it isn’t necessarily doing it in the right way.

“I have spent the last six months talking about the CRC commitment and the EU code of conduct at US events – actually giving the folks in the US a little a bit of insight into, yes, although we may be leading this in Europe it is not necessarily being done in the right way, or in a way that is conducive for our industry at the moment,” said Limbuwala.

According to the BCS data centre specialist group chairman, the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) is especially risky as it is a new and potentially punitive approach to regulating carbon, which could impact data centre owners and operators.

“At the top of the list there I would put the UK Carbon Reduction Commitment as probably the biggest risk, and the thing that everyone is watching as the first law on carbon reduction and carbon reporting, to see what happens,” said Limbuwala.

The UK’s CRC is a mandatory cap and trade scheme, due to be introduced next year, that will apply to large organisations in the public and private sectors and could help cut carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes per year by 2020, according to government figures. The CRC is already under fire because it conflicts with existing green energy subsidy schemes, causing some companies to kill renewable energy projects.

Commenting on a presentation he gave this week, Green Grid’s Tuccillo said that few UK organisations he spoke with seemed prepared for the impact of the CRC. “In a presentation I just gave – I asked for a show of hands of data centre owner operators,” he said. “I asked how many people are familiar with the legislation which comes into effect this Spring coming, and only four hands went up in the room. There is a significant amount of activity that, as an industry, we have to pay attention to and be engaged proactively with.”

To help end-user companies better deal with the impacts of environmental legislation, BCS and Green Grid have announced a plan to collaborate more closely in the future.

The relationship between the BCS and the Green Grid dates back to around two years ago, when they started sharing information after they discovered they were producing white papers and other documents that were saying very similar things, the organisations claim.

“We decided we should make sure our messages were clear and we weren’t producing output from the two organisations that might cause confusion over whether people perceived us as agreeing with each other or not,” said Limbuwal.

The organisations have now agreed to team up on a series of initiatives including the development of a data centre simulator tool originally developed by the BCS and the UK’s Carbon Trust and a private company Romonet – set up by Limbuwala and Liam Newcombe. The core simulator has been open sourced to allow other commercial companies to develop and refine it, which Fujitsu has already announced it is doing with its Total Co2 and Value Analysis tool.


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