Greenpeace report reinforces motivation for RenewIT project

April 14, 2014

Campaign group Greenpeace has released its latest report on the environmental performance of large datacenter operators which supports a lot of the motivation behind the RenewIT project.

The Greenpeace ‘Clicking Clean,’ published in Q2 2014, updates two previous reports: ‘How Clean Is Your Cloud?’ (Q2 2012) and ‘How Dirty Is Your Data?’ (Q2 2011.) The group argues that datacenter owners and operators should care more about the source of the energy they use, rather than focusing purely on improvements in efficiency.

RenewIT is a three-year, €3.6m ($4.8m) research project funded under the European Commission’s (the regulatory arm of the European Union) FP7 initiative. The project plans to develop datacenter energy-monitoring tools with a specific focus on renewable energy. The project will also develop simulation tools to help optimize the design of new facilities to make use of renewable energy sources.

The latest Greenpeace report recognizes the progress that some datacenter operators (Apple, Google, eBay and Facebook) have made toward improving energy efficiency and obtaining more energy from renewable sources. However, it also singles out other suppliers – most notably Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Twitter – for a lack of transparency in energy and carbon reporting, as well as limited use of renewable energy.

The tools developed by RenewIT should help more datacenters to understand the economics of using renewable energy and to hopefully drive greater adoption.