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Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres

  • techUK techUK
    Wednesday19Nov 2014

    Data centres enable and power service economies in the way that heavy industry used to power manufacturing economies.

This report is not intended to be comprehensive, definitive or formal. It is simply a reflection on progress to date and sets out the preliminary findings from the early adopters of the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) for Data Centres. Although it is early days, the closure of the first application window presents us with a natural pause in the process and an opportunity to draw breath and take stock.

The objectives of the CCA are to improve energy stewardship without damaging growth. Participants undertake to meet energy efficiency targets and in return have the opportunity to benefit from concessions on some carbon taxes. For data centres, these efficiency targets will take the form of a reduction in PUE: the exact reduction required for each site will depend on current performance. The scheme runs until 2023 and the targets are spread over four milestones. Although not perfect, PUE was chosen because it is well understood and measurable.

Negotiations between techUK and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) started back in 2009 and lasted for four years. The CCA was confirmed by the Chancellor in the 2013 Autumn Statement and was brought into law on 1st July 2014. The scheme has now moved into its implementation phase, which involves three main parties: the Environment Agency (EA) who administers and enforces it on behalf of DECC, techUK (the sector association) who acts on behalf of the sector, and individual participants (data centre operators). Other organisations provide technical assistance.

The report ends by looking further ahead at how the scheme might develop in a perfect world.We see four main areas of opportunity – expansion to include enterprise operators, better informed policy dialogue, a better understanding of energy use at both facility and sector level and improved best practice through formal collaboration with existing industry tools and initiatives. An Annexe provides links to further information on the CCA and a list of useful contacts.

How to use this report

If you are a data centre operator considering participation: then you should look at sections II and IV which introduce you to the scheme and identify some of the things you should be aware of if you plan to apply. However, there is much more comprehensive information available through our CCA helpdesk and our CCA webpages. See the Annexe at the end of this document for a list of materials, contacts and links relating to the CCA.

If you are already a participant: then this report will probably not tell you anything you don't already know but you may find it interesting to see how many other operators participated and compare experiences. See sections III and IV for that.

If you are an energy consultant: then you will probably know all there is to know about the way the scheme works but you will be interested in how many companies applied, how they found the registration process and the things that you should look out for when taking sites through the scheme. See sections III and IV for that. Section V is also worth a look because it sets out what we expect to see in terms of energy stewardship.

If you are an industry analyst or in any way engaged in the policy process: then you should look at sections V and VI which cover the strategic implications of the CCA scheme for the data centre sector, including observations on how we hope the scheme will fulfil its policy objectives.

Further information

If you have queries regarding the content of this report, need further information or wish to know more about techUK's data centre programme then please contact:

Climate Change Agreement for Data Centres | First findings... (pdf)


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