U.S. Energy Department Grants $47 Million for Greening the Data Center

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $47 million for 14 projects across the country to improve the energy efficiency of data centers. One of the vendors developing energy monitoring software for the data center says it is in the process of developing a solution provider channel partner program.

Looking to new technologies to improve the energy efficiency of information technology and telecommunications, the U.S. Department of Energy this week announced it will award $47 million for 14 projects across the country to develop them.

The idea behind the move is that while data processing, storage and telecom have become crucial parts of the U.S. economy and have grown rapidly, the moves to make them more energy efficient haven’t developed as quickly.

The Energy Department says the newly funded projects will reduce energy use and carbon pollution.

"These Recovery Act projects will improve the efficiency of a strong and growing sector of the American economy," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a prepared statement. "By reducing energy use and energy costs for the IT and telecommunications industries, this funding will help create jobs and ensure the sector remains competitive."

The Energy Department said that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide for funding for research, development and demonstration projects in the following three areas:

Equipment and Software—projects will focus on the core components of data centers or telecommunications centers, such as servers and networking devices, as well as software to optimize equipment energy use.

Power Supply Chain—projects will develop technologies to minimize the power loss and heat generation that occur as electricity moves through server-based IT and communications systems.

Cooling—projects will demonstrate ways to cool equipment used in IT and telecommunications more effectively and with less power than current methods.

The Energy Department said that private industry has put up more than $70 million to fund the projects for a total of more than $115 million.

Among the participating companies is Power Assure, based in Santa Clara, Calif., which offers monitoring software that tracks real-time data about power usage for optimizing data center resources.

Power Assure tells Channel Insider that its channel partner program is currently under development, and it will be recruiting solution provider channel partners in the months ahead. Meanwhile, it has struck a deal with Dell and is working with that computing company’s professional services arm.

Another company, Federspiel Controls, is developing a dynamic cooling system that uses variable fan speeds, adjustable air inlets and wireless temperature sensors to monitor and adjust temperatures. The company estimates conventional static cooling systems now typically consume 25 percent of the energy used in a data center.

Information technology and telecommunications facilities account for approximately 120 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually—or 3 percent of all U.S. electricity use. Moreover, rapid growth in the U.S. data center industry is projected to require two new large power plants per year just to keep pace with the expected demand growth. Without gains in efficiency, the industry would face increasing costs and greenhouse gas emissions, along with challenges to the reliability of the electricity service.

Equipment & Software Projects
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($1.6 million)
SeaMicro Inc. ($9.3 million)
Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs ($300,000)
California Institute of Technology ($300,000)

Power Supply Chain Projects
Lineage Power Corp. ($2.4 million)
BAE Systems ($222,000)
Power Assure Inc. ($5 million)
Hewlett-Packard Co. ($7.4 million)
Columbia University ($2.8 million)

IBM T.J. Watson Research Center ($2.3 million)
Federspiel Controls Inc. ($584,000)
Yahoo Inc. ($9.9 million)
Alcatel-Lucent ($1.8 million)
Edison Materials Technology Center ($2.8 million)

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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