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PG&E offers Incentives to Increase Data Center Energy Efficiency

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is leading a nationwide coalition of utilities to tackle energy efficiency programs for the high tech sector, focusing on data centers. PG&E says it has developed programs and services for the IT industry, and is sharing the information with other utilities.

Many regions across the U.S. are experiencing huge new demands for electric infrastructure as data center operators construct new facilities. Nationwide, existing data centers are experiencing space, cooling, and energy capacity issues. Data centers can use up to one hundred times the energy per square foot of typical office space, so the energy efficiency opportunities are significant.

PG&E offers financial incentives for high-tech businesses that use energy efficient methods in their data centers, Sacremento Business Journal reports.

“A customer choosing from our menu of programs, which include cooling system improvements, high-efficiency power conditioning equipment retrofits, airflow management tune-ups, virtualization, and replacement of computing and data storage equipment with the latest technologies can generally drive a third to as much as half of the energy use out of their operations,” said Mark Bramfitt, High Tech Segment Manager for PG&E.

PG&E is coordinating with Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric so that program offerings are consistent across the state, and is now reaching out to utilities in key markets across the country.

“The Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and Northeast are on the top of our list, because these areas have the greatest concentrations of data centers,” said Mark Bramfitt, High Tech Segment Manager for PG&E.

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, TXU Energy, Austin Energy, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and NSTAR, have all signed on to the coalition.

PG&E says that some customers using its virtualization and server consolidation program have reduced their equipment counts by ninety percent or more. One PG&E customer made use of virtualization technology to consolidate 230 servers onto just eleven new machines, and is now considering a second project to consolidate an additional 1000 servers.

PG&E’s own program, launched last fall, pays between $150 and $300 per server removed from service, Computerworld reports.

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