A day late in commenting, but I found this report from the New York Times on data center energy use fascinating in many ways, not the least of which is that the report prepared by Jonathon Koomey was in fact sponsored by the newspaper.
Jonathon was asked to revisit his influential 2007 report from the E.P.A that predicted a doubling of server and data center energy use over the 2005 to 2010 time period, reaching a demand of 12 gigawatts this year. (I know: these reports conflate energy use and demand to a degree that can confuse an engineer, let alone a layman.)
His report concludes that data center load in the US has only hit 17 GW because of a combination of the economic downturn and a new focus on energy efficiency. (My guess is that the economic downturn is by far the prevalent factor.)
This droop in the growth curve has been predicted by others - I know Christian Belady at Microsoft predicted it as well. My question is whether the focus on energy efficiency has moved down into the enterprise data center market or is rather more contained in the utility scale operator group. If it hasn't, then the industry has a chance to deliver energy efficiency gains at the same time as the economy (hopefully) picks back up.
I noticed too that Google is mentioned in the article as being responsible for less than one percent of the energy use in the sector, attributing the low number to their intense focus on efficiency. That puts their demand at something like 150 MW. For perspective, there are a handful of data centers in the US that have loads in the 100 to 200 MW range by themselves.
I'm partnering with Geoff Overland from the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corporation to develop and deliver a presentation at the 24th Annual E Source Forum in Denver Colorado in September, focusing on energy efficiency program design and delivery for the data center and information technology segments.
We'll likely focus on some of the distinct challenges that utilities face in targeting this market - I'll take on the description of the challenges, and Geoff will descxribe how he addressed them on the ground in Wisconsin when WECC administered the Wisconsin Focus on Energy program. (WECC is no longer the administrator of WFoE; the Shaw Group has been awarded the contract for the next program cycle.)
Looking forward to visiting downtown Denver for the first time - when I last spoke at the Forum it was held in nearby Boulder.