Race to Net Zero - Episode 3

Race to Net-Zero - Episode 3

Making your move: The evolution of renewable energy  


This episode is made in partnership with NRG Energy.

The Race to Net Zero podcast is a special, six-episode series centered around your net-zero journey. Host John Failla introduces Chris Pennington, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Iron Mountain Data Centers, and Tracy Ross, Vice President of Sales, West Region at NRG Energy as they share how the renewable energy market is shifting with the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, new solutions, and a more customized approach to reaching net-zero emissions.


In today's episode, we cover...

  • [04:56] What’s happening in the world of renewable energy?
  • [11:20] Changes in the renewable energy market
  • [19:55] The direction of the renewable energy market
  • [25:09] Iron Mountain’s data center
  • [30:16] Forming successful partnerships


What is a sustainable business?

The definition of a sustainable business has expanded to include the pursuit of net-zero goals, even as net-zero itself is still being defined. Initially, net-zero was viewed through Scope 1 and Scope 2 lenses. As the science-based targets initiative broadened net-zero to include Scope 3, companies started recognizing the significant impact of supply chains. 

The only way for an organization to achieve a net-zero goal is to focus on new technologies and solutions that will drive the results needed. The concept of net-zero is becoming more mature and defined. Even within the narrow scope of renewable energy, the idea of true-zero is emerging. Many changes are happening, and technology will likely be the key enabler in achieving progress.


Changes in the data center industry

The landscape for the data center industry is evolving. With their footprint expanding into new markets, resource management and power availability continue to be a priority. As energy price concerns rise in Europe, organizations and industries are considering how to best navigate these challenges. Meanwhile, there is a real risk around reliance on fossil fuels or energy supplies from singular countries.

One advantage of the data center industry is its ability to invest in technology and solutions that drive results. The top of the list of the largest clean energy buyers today is dominated by data center operators. If the industry can continue to move quickly, it can bring solutions that will help alleviate the need for regulation in the future. 


Next steps in technology

Energy storage is critically needed today. Luckily, exciting new battery chemistries and designs are coming to the market and geothermal technologies are improving. As such, organizations are investing in energy storage options and geothermal generation with less risk. 

Advances in geothermal technology can transform data centers like Iron Mountain from energy consumers to prosumers. Not only will this change bring jobs and data access, but it will also bring social benefits like helping the local utility achieve greater grid resiliency. Ultimately, new energy solutions like battery storage and geothermal technologies will create a valuable path forward for more sustainable business.


Resources and People Mentioned


Connect with Chris Pennington


Connect with Tracy Ross


Connect with NRG Energy

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