Launching Electricity 4.0

Schneider Electric

Wednesday, 06 July, 2022

Launching Electricity 4.0

Schneider Electric has released three independent research studies to better understand the maturity of sustainability initiatives within IT and data centre organisations, and more specifically, where the IT and data centre industry stands in achieving this vision of net zero IT operations.

451 Research, Forrester and Canalys independently collected data from more than 3000 global participants, including the largest colocation and cloud providers, IT solution providers and IT professionals across many segments and organisation sizes. Overall, findings consistently demonstrated that across the data centre and IT industry, there is a discrepancy between where companies think they are and the implementation of full lifecycle sustainability programs across their IT infrastructure.

In surveying 1100 IT professionals responsible for core and distributed IT, 451 Research found that while 26% of participants self-identified as having a full lifecycle sustainability program covering all the infrastructure, only 14% are taking the actions to have implemented the programs. The analysis further identifies 22% as not addressing sustainability as a major focus, though many have efficiency initiatives to improve specific areas of operations.

The results of the studies, conducted by leading industry analysts, were previewed at a launch titled “The future is now: preparing IT infrastructure for net zero operations”. Speaking at the launch in Sydney were Louise Monger (Vice President Digital Buildings), Andrew Sylvester (Head of International Region Sales) and Astrid Groves (General Manager, IT/Edge).

Monger spoke about Electricity 4.0, a concept describing the convergence of electrical and digital systems that Schneider Electric considers crucial to changing the trajectory of climate change. Sylvester tackled the challenges (including environmental and security-related) of managing data centres at a time when the data centre has become a dispersed, hybrid model consisting of cloud, colocation and edge — in addition to the more traditional centralised location. Groves spoke about Schneider’s “partner ecosystem” programs, which include tracking of sustainability goals.

A central theme of the launch was the “energy paradox” arising from Electricity 4.0. Digitisation enables decarbonisation — but digitisation requires data centres, which in turn require huge amounts of energy. There is therefore a pressing need to ensure they are sustainable. Schneider Electric’s solution involves high-efficiency, eco-designed buildings with digital control, including: SF6-free switchgear and dispatchable UPS; intelligent construction and procurement; and energy and resource-driven optimisation guided by the company’s EcoStruxure Platform.

Pankaj Sharma, the company’s Executive Vice President, Secure Power Division, summed up the company’s position: “As an industry, we have a responsibility to drive forward our environmental commitments with extreme urgency. We’ve made some progress, but to avoid a major energy challenge, all data centres — including distributed edge data centres — must be more sustainable, efficient, adaptive and resilient.

“The research is clear — the industry knows sustainability needs to be prioritised but challenges still exist to taking action and will take a collaborative effort to overcome. The good news is the technology to take action in sustainability exists today. Now is the time to act.”

Schneider Electric aims to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Image credit: © Planet Studio

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