eco Alliance on the importance of sustainable digital infrastructures: “Digitalisation is more than just streaming video”
Berlin, 10 September 2020 – “When it comes to sustainability, digitalisation should be seen as part of the solution, not as part of the problem,” says Alexander Rabe, Managing Director of eco – Association of the Internet Industry on the occasion of the presentation today by Environment Minister Svenja Schulze of plans for more energy and resource efficiency in digital infrastructures. “A valid sustainability balance-sheet for digital infrastructures and technologies should not be limited to video streaming services, but should also include future potentials for saving energy and resources resulting from digitalisation, Rabe continued.
“Operators of digital infrastructures have for years been committed to greater sustainability, and data centres in Germany are already among the most energy-efficient in international comparison. Together with research, politics and industry, we should now work in close cooperation to develop the pathways towards energy-efficient and resource-conserving digitalisation. We are also promoting this on the corporate side with the Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures, founded under the auspices of eco,” says Rabe.
“We support the German Federal Environment Ministry’s call for rapid broadband rollout and the timely switch from 3G to the much more energy-efficient 5G. If the goal of climate-neutral operation of data centres by 2030 is actually to be the reward, the energy transition in Germany must also be accelerated accordingly, since a much higher proportion of energy from renewable sources must be available on the market by then. If you look at France with its nuclear power or the Northern European countries with a high proportion of renewable energies, the target may be realistic. Germany’s coal phase-out, which is not planned until 2038, does not fit in with this ambitious goal.”
On the other hand, it is also to be welcomed that politicians have apparently finally recognised the positive effects of heat recovery. “Politicians must ensure, with corresponding purchase obligations for heating network operators, that data centres in the vicinity also have the possibility of feeding their waste heat into the respective heating network. This is often still prevented by the network operators currently. Here, holistic concepts must be developed jointly,” says Alexander Rabe.