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Clean Power for the Internet
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Data centers have been increasingly large users of energy over the past 10 years. With the rapid increase in Internet use, these facilities continue to be built, stressing the local electricity grids with their immense energy needs, and typically with the backup support of diesel generators belching pollution into the sky. The extent of these impacts is unknown. The change in market dynamics in the year 2001 resulted in a slower growth rate in data centers, as it did with the rest of the Internet industry, but it opened up an opportunity for incorporating energy efficient technologies into the design of power delivery to these buildings. More energy-efficient design will ease pressure on the electric grid and also decrease pollution in these areas, many of which are already areas of pollution non-attainment. This paper discusses the air quality impact of data centers, their impact on the electric grid, and the possibility of using clean distributed energy resources (DER) to meet their power reliability and quantity needs. Current DER installation and its success in maintaining the needed reliability are reviewed. The environmental and economic impact of the use of DER in these buildings are also reviewed and ways to overcome the potential barriers to this technology are discussed.
Brown, E.; Elliott, R. N.; Shipley, A. (2002). Clean Power for the Internet. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu). Available electronically from