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Monday, 22 March 2010 12:42

Carbon reduction targets for ICT: Tanner


The Rudd Government has applied a carbon reduction target to the Commonwealth's energy-intensive data centre operations for the first time, acknowledging its fast growing demand for information systems.

Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has told a CeBIT conference in Sydney the Australian Government was by far the biggest data centre operators in the country - larger than the Big Four banks combined - and that environmental and sustainability issues were now priority considerations for data centre strategy.

Mr Tanner said the Commonwealth had estimated its data centres generated 300,000 tonnes of carbon each year. The government's goal is to reduce that carbon output by 40,000 tonnes annually in five years.

"The data centre strategy focuses on both the efficiency of the data centre and of the ICT infrastructure itself," he said.

"The two are inseparable - when the ICT infrastructure uses less electricity, it generates less heat and thus less electricity is required for cooling."

Under the 15-year data centre strategy announced by Mr Tanner this morning, departments and agencies have to measure and report annually the energy consumption of their data centres and their ICT infrastructure.

"The strategy makes it clear that the 'green credentials' of a data centre site and its infrastructure will be a major consideration in the Government's future procurement of data centre services," Mr Tanner said.

Environmental and sustainability considerations would become a large part of decisions about data centre locations as the Government consolidates the number of sites under the strategy's whole-of-government arrangements.

"Issues such as the benefits of free cooling using ambient air temperatures, the relative advantages of centralised versus decentralised designs, and the capacity of the telecommunications network and electricity grid all had to be considered," Mr Tanner said.

"This government is committed to improving the sustainability of all our operations and with the amount of energy data centres consume, it was necessary for a strong focus to be on this area."

Mr Tanner said Government would go to market in the second half of the year seeking the first suppliers under the new arrangements.

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