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Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 24, 2021

Weekend Reads: Google's RE-Powered Data Center in an Old Coal Plant; Using Efficiency For Net-Zero Targets

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.

Earth Day 2021: The Future Is Now For CleanTech & Renewables (CleanTechnica) There’s so much happening here on Earth Day to protect and nurture the planet! The future is now for CleanTech and renewables. We have smart meters that are connected to the internet and offer data tracking of electricity and suggestions for better consumption, such as when to charge batteries for optimal efficiency. We’re beginning to hear about microgrids that introduce localized energy production — stationary energy storage through batteries mitigates renewable energy intermittency. Heat pumps that pull in hot air from cold areas and vice versa are becoming much more commonplace due to their extreme energy efficiency — they create more heat energy than what they use.

All the new emissions targets announced at Biden's climate summit (Axios) Multiple world leaders announced new targets for reducing greenhouse gases during President Biden's virtual climate summit, which featured more than 40 heads of state and other world and business leaders. Why it matters: The goal of the summit is to spur more ambitious emissions reductions through non-binding commitments, bringing the world in line with the global warming goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Microsoft Launches Virtual Data Centre — Sustainability In Focus (Which-50) Microsoft has just launched a virtual data centre tour, showcasing the company’s approach to sustainable operations. The virtual tour allows users to navigate through various rooms in the data centre, with click-throughs to educational tools such as infographics and 3D models. According to Noelle Walsh, CVP of Cloud Operations & Innovation at Microsoft, “This rapidly increasing shift towards digitisation is the backdrop and inspiration for the Microsoft Virtual Data Center.” Microsoft’s data centres are responsible for storing and managing the data of the Microsoft Cloud, including services that enable individuals, teams and businesses to work and learn remotely. With the COVID pandemic testing cloud computing globally, the organisation claims it is growing to meet current and future demand.

The role of energy efficiency in achieving net zero targets (Open Access Government) Reaching the net zero targets announced by countries around the world isn’t just about generating cleaner energy: it will also require significant improvements in making our energy use more efficient. Energy efficiency can contribute up to 40% of the emissions reductions required to meet the 2050 net zero targets, but a “business as usual” approach will do little to achieve change on the scale required. The energy sector is responsible for three quarters of global emissions and achieving significant energy efficiency improvements within this sector will be the difference between achieving, or falling well short, of the 2050 net zero targets. Digital technologies are transforming the energy sector and creating a new generation of energy efficient solutions. New digital solutions can limit production and distribution losses and accommodate growing shares of variable and distributed renewable energy while increasing grid flexibility. 

CPower Partners with WattTime to Supercharge Emissions-reduction Benefits of Demand Response (CPower) Today, in recognition of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, CPower Energy Management ("CPower") and nonprofit WattTime jointly announced a partnership to evaluate and strengthen the emissions-reduction benefits of CPower's demand response solutions. CPower is a leading, national energy solutions provider that serves more than 1,700 commercial and industrial customers across more than 11,000 sites and manages more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of electricity load across North American utilities and energy markets. WattTime is the inventor of Automated Emissions Reduction (AER), software intelligence that allows utilities, IoT device and energy storage companies, and end users to shift the timing of flexible electricity use to sync with times of cleaner energy and avoid times of dirtier energy.

Google transforms old coal power plant into renewable-powered data center (CNN Business) Out with the 20th century, in with the 21st. That's what Google is doing in northeast Alabama -- building a new data center on the site of an old coal-fired power plant. The plant -- known as Widow's Creek -- is closing by October thanks to tightening pollution rules. In its place, Google plans on building a $600 million server farm on 350 acres of land that will eventually be powered by 100% renewable energy. "Decades of investment shouldn't go to waste just because a site has closed," Patrick Gammons, Google's senior manager for data center energy, said in a blog post Wednesday. While Google won't use the smoke stack or turbine halls at the plant, it will tap into the transformers, power lines, and other equipment to bring clean power onto a site that currently produces some of the nation's dirtiest electricity.


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