Data centres could move from Europe to the US, thanks to low cost energy from shale gas, according to research from 451 Research. Cheaper energy could also dampen interest in efficiency measures for large cloud data centres, the report warns.
The US will have cheap electricity and prices will be stable for some time, thanks to the large-scale exploitation of shale gas. This means that data centres, which can use several megawatts of electric power, will be cheaper to run in America. It will also make data centre owners less likely to invest in energy efficiency measures designed to bring down electricity costs and reduce the carbon footprint of the data centres, the report’s authors warn.
Red light for green data centres?
“The energy bill for a medium-sized 2MW datacentre in the US with a 50 percent baseload energy consumption could be as much as $500,000 (£335,000) a year less than a comparable facility in the UK – and about $750,000 (£500,000) less than one in Germany,” said Andy Lawrence, research vice president for data centres at 451 Research. “This figure is large enough to sway decisions about where a data centre should be built.”
Electricity makes up about 30 percent of the running cost of a data centre, according to 451 Research, and prices have been expected to rise steeply, leading to big investments in techniques to increase efficiency and cut energy bills, such as the use of free cooling instead of electrical chillers.