Renewable energy is the resource the world needs to move toward a more sustainable, clean future. While green power sources like solar and wind don’t produce any carbon dioxide emissions directly, they do come with high energy demands. Data centers are necessary to manage and distribute them properly, and cloud computing can curb the costs of those demands.
Modern renewable energy systems run on data to understand who needs energy and how much they require throughout the year. With these insights, experts can properly store and distribute electricity. However, before they can do so, they need a place to hold the vast amount of data.
Data centers require cooling, processing and lightning costs, which can add up. However using the cloud for renewable energy cuts down on those needs and expenses.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Sustainability is the goal, and it plays a central role in renewable energy and cloud computing. Whether it’s completely reducing fossil fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions or managing power consumption more efficiently, the goal is the same. Thus, it’s important to combine the two sectors.
An International Data Corp. (IDC) study shows that using cloud computing could eliminate 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2024. That’s because cloud computing reduces reliance on energy-heavy practices. Transferring data off-site is faster than standard computing methods. Cloud systems also keep equipment from idling for prolonged periods.
This fast connectivity and smart usage of energy add up. As the IDC states, cloud-based renewable energy computing could ultimately end up reducing consumption at data centers. Green power companies and services would then be making their business practices more sustainable, all while saving money.
This combination is a growing necessity, too. Renewables had the biggest increase in usage across all energy resources in 2019 — and this reliance is still increasing. To make them fully sustainable, the data they run on can now cost less through cloud computing.
Automated Renewable Services
Automation is the underlying tool that makes cloud computing in data centers so powerful. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are also adapting to users’ needs. An automated system can monitor energy consumption in a data center and point out ways to cut down on electricity usage.
A solar energy system worker that needs information on production can remotely access it from the data center. Automation learns from this interaction and conserves energy when the data is not in use or doesn’t need to be transferred.
A similar concept applies to managing solar energy output itself. An automated renewable energy system will consider demand for electricity and weather patterns — which is also stored in a data center. The system knows when to conserve energy throughout cloudy or windless days. This way, those on the energy grid maintain a consistent supply of electricity at all times.
Moreover, this automated conservation of energy means the system won’t waste as much power in the distribution process. The result is more cost savings.
Improvements for the Future
More industries will depend on data centers for reliable services. With more reliance comes more responsibility, though. Data centers can always look for ways to improve how they handle sustainability. Then, each industry can have a more cost-effective support network.
Using renewable energy is one way to improve efficiency. Just as renewables can rely on data centers for sustainability, the reverse is true, as well. In fact, many big tech companies like Microsoft and Google are seeking to use or already utilizing renewable energy to power their data centers. As more places take on this approach, sustainability and cost-effectiveness become innate.
This movement comes when renewables are dropping in prices across the board, making them stand out as practical options for data centers. With this kind of reciprocal dynamic, the renewable energy industry can be fully sustainable, reducing costs around every turn.
Sustainability and Cost
Through the overlap of data centers and renewable energy, it’s clear that sustainability and cost are the two most important goals. These aims are attainable as the two industries rely on each other for energy and data storage. That way, cloud renewable energy can become the key to cost savings across the board.
Author: Shannon Fynn