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  1. #1
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    [EN] Amazon: 1 Gigawatt na Virginia

    Rich Miller
    January 16, 2017

    Amazon’s cloud computing operation may soon have more than 1 gigawatt of power capacity supporting its huge US-East data center cluster, according to a Greenpeace analysis of the company’s energy use.

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) had 500 megawatts of capacity in a 2015 analysis, but has since received permission for generators to support another 560 megawatts of data center capacity, Greenpeace estimates. Some of those projects are still in the planning and construction phase. But when they are completed, the new capacity would bring Amazon’s total data center energy footprint in Northern Virginia to 1.06 gigawatts.

    This appears to be the first instance of a single cloud provider approaching 1 gigawatt – equal to 1,000 megawatts or 1 billion watts – in a single geographic market. As the world’s leading provider of cloud computing services, AWS is an outlier in its massive deployment of data center capacity, and Virginia is its largest market.

    The megawatt has been the primary metric for data center power usage, and will remain so. But the Greenpeace data on Amazon highlights how the shift to a digital economy is boosting the amount of electricity needed to power cloud computing platforms. If we are in the early innings of the migration to the cloud, as many industry experts believe, we’ll see more eye-popping numbers about the amount of electricity dedicated to data center infrastructure.

    Energy Efficiency at Scale

    This change brings some meaningful benefits, consolidating business activity in some of the world’s most efficient data centers, which usually reduces the volume of energy used (and associated carbon output) for a business process. This is known as the “negawatt” effect, and is expected to will yield $60 billion in energy savings by 2020, according to a U.S. government data.

    But the cloud’s growing role in the economy – and accompanied growth in resource usage – also invites greater scrutiny and attention to the environmental impact of the data center industry. That’s the focus for Greenpeace, which has been tracking data center energy use in a series of reports over the past six years.

    “The ongoing shift to larger and more energy efficient data centers should actually underscore the importance of decisions that such global data center operators make now on where their critical infrastructure is located, and what source of energy will power them,” said Greenpeace.

    Greenpeace sees the use of renewable energy in data centers as key step in transitioning to a sustainable economy that can avert the worst impacts of climate change. After many years of focus on improving data center efficiency as its primary green energy strategy, hyperscale cloud providers are now boosting their use of wind and solar power. That includes Amazon, which took huge steps in 2016 to increase its use of renewable energy.

    What’s a Gigawatt?

    How much is 1 gigawatt of power? It’s equivalent to the amount of power generated by 4.6 million photovoltaic solar panels, or 500 utility-scale wind turbines, or 100 million LED bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And of course, it requires 1.21 gigawatts of power to operate the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future.

    Data centers currently account for a small percentage of America’s energy use. Data centers used an estimated 70 billion kilowatt hours of energy in 2014, accounting for 1.8 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. While the sector’s use of energy is growing, that growth has been slowed as data centers have become more efficient. Between 2010 and 2016, data centers’ use of energy grew 4 percent per year.

    Northern Virginia is one of the primary battlegrounds in the cloud war. It’s America’s busiest Internet intersection, the place where all the networks meet, anchored by the Equinix interconnection hub in Ashburn.

    The region is of major strategic importance to Amazon Web Services. It’s no secret that AWS has been expanding rapidly across Loudoun and Prince William counties, but the Greenpeace report helps quantify the breadth of its expansion. Amazon has been working closely with developer Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), a real estate investment trust. COPT has leased nearly 1.3 million square feet of data center space to Amazon Web Services over the past three years, according to SEC filings, all of it in Northern Virginia.

    Generator Permits as a Power Metric

    Greenpeace tracks Amazon’s power use as part of its Clicking Clean report, which evaluates the data center industry’s use of renewable energy. Amazon doesn’t report the amount of power used by its cloud computing operation, so Greenpeace has focused on generator emissions permits from the state of Virginia as the best available metric for tracking the growth of energy use by AWS.

    Greenpeace tracks permitting at 32 data center projects operated by Amazon across 14 locations in Loudoun and Prince William counties, including 25 existing facilities and seven that are in the planning and construction phase. AWS has sought permits for a total of 1.56 gigawatts of backup generator capacity.

    Greenpeace says it uses “conservative assumptions regarding the total power the generators are needed to cover, as well as the number of generators deployed for redundancy,” which is how they arrived at the final estimate of 1.06 gigawatts. That equates to one backup generator for every two production generators.

    “Our estimates are designed to reflect, given the deployed backup generator assets, the amount of power the facility is designed to consume,” said Gary Cook, IT Sector Analyst for Greenpeace.

    “(AWS) took some important steps in the past year, including promising leadership in supporting clean energy policy,” Greenpeace said. “But given AWS’s continued lack of transparency and its rapid growth in Virginia and other markets largely served by dirty energy, it remains unclear whether the AWS cloud is actually on a path to becoming renewably powered.”

    Amazon’s Green Energy Efforts

    Amazon has emerged as a leader in provisioning renewable energy, particularly in Virginia. Renewable energy sources represent just 6 percent of Virginia’s electric generation in 2016, compared to 12 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Virginia’s primary power sources is natural gas (39 percent), followed by nuclear power (27 percent) and coal (19 percent).

    Amazon is working to change that ratio. In November Amazon Web Services announced five new solar farms across Virginia that will bring a total of 180 megawatts of renewable energy capacity onto the grid before the end of 2017. Amazon had previously deals for 80 MW of solar in Virginia and 200 MW of wind power from North Carolina.

    Amazon has also worked out an innovative deal with with Dominion Virginia Power to manage and integrate the energy produced from Amazon’s wind and solar farm projects onto the grid that serves AWS data centers.

    That agreement was hailed as “a turning point in the electricity industry,” by Hervé Touati, managing director at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit that works to advance sustainable energy. “By offering these services to Amazon to help the company manage its purchased power, (Dominion) is working directly with a corporation like no utility has done before.”

    Amazon’s progress on renewables is highlighted at its AWS & Sustainability web site.

    “In November 2014 AWS made a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy and in just two years we’ve made strong progress towards that goal,” an AWS spokesman said. “By April 2015 we hit 25 percent renewable, closed 2016 at 45 percent renewable, and have set a goal to reach 50 percent by the end of 2017. AWS has to date enabled 10 renewable energy projects in the United States that will deliver a grand total of 2.6 million MWh of energy annually onto the electric grid powering AWS data centers and four of these projects are already online.

    “That said, we are nowhere near done,” added the AWS statement. “We will continue to make progress toward our 100 percent goal and have many exciting initiatives planned.”

    http://datacenterfrontier.com/amazon...y-in-virginia/

  2. #2
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    Microsoft Deals Drive Blockbuster Year for Data Center Leasing

    Rich Miller
    January 17, 2017

    Microsoft leased as much as 125 megawatts of third-party data center space in 2016, accounting for the top six deals in the wholesale data center market during 2016, according to a new report. The massive leasing by Microsoft was the highlight in a blockbuster year for wholesale providers, including the publicly-held data center REITs (real estate investment trusts).

    “Hyperscale cloud leasing led by Microsoft and Oracle in Multi-Tenant Data Centers (MTDC) drove a 25 percent increase in leasing activity from 2015; a historic high,” wrote Jim Kerrigan of North American Data Centers, whose latest report tracks deals and space in the wholesale space. “Large cloud providers shifting from speculative leasing to pre-leasing during the past 15 months have been a welcome occurrence to the overall MTDC market.”

    The enormous deal volume has left industry watchers wondering whether this level of activity is sustainable. Kerrigan believes that the blockbuster leasing will continue.

    “I think there’s a lot of pent-up demand, and not a lot of supply,” said Kerrigan. “There’s a lot of deals that didn’t get done late last year, and I don’t think Virginia and Chicago have enough supply coming online.”

    Keeping Up With AWS

    As we’ve noted, the cloud computing arms race is accelerating, and the battle will be waged with data centers. The robust activity in 2016 demonstrates that the growth of cloud computing is providing a huge boost for data center developers.

    The pace setter in the cloud market is Amazon Web Services, which continues a massive expansion of its data center infrastructure to keep pace with its growth. Its chief rivals, Microsoft and Google, are actively expanding as well. While Google is focused on building new facilities, Microsoft has looked to lease wholesale space from third-party providers.

    The company’s two largest deals, according to North American Data Centers, boosted the fortunes of private developers. Microsoft has leased 35 megawatts from CloudHQ in Manassas, Virginia and 30 megawatts from EdgeConneX in Chicago, according to the report. CloudHQ is a new company led by Hossein Fateh, the former CEO of DuPont Fabros Technology. EdgeConneX has rapidly built a network of smaller data centers to support edge computing, but is now leveraging its expertise in construction to win hyperscale deals.

    Microsoft has also signed large deals with data center REIT CyrusOne in Northern Virginia (22MW), Phoenix (13MW) and San Antonio (9MW), as well as a large (16MW) pre-lease with DuPont Fabros in the Santa Clara market.

    As it seeks to expand its infrastructure to support its shift to the a cloud-driven business model, Microsoft is pursuing a hybrid strategy we first noted in 2013, in which it builds state-of-the-art data centers in areas where land and power are cheap, and leases third-party wholesale space in key markets where it is expensive to build and operate large server farms.

    Oracle Focuses on Virginia, Chicago

    In any other year, the big story would be the huge leasing by Oracle, which has massively boosted its investment in cloud capacity. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was once known for his disdain for cloudy jargon. But in recent years Oracle has begun shifting to a cloud delivery model.

    During 2016 Oracle signed seven deals totaling about 30 megawatts of wholesale space, according to North American Data Centers, including four deals that added 20 MW of capacity in Northern Virginia, and three significant leases totaling 10 MW in Chicago. The company spread the wealth, doing deals with CyrusOne, QTS, Digital Realty and RagingWire, the report said.

    Today Oracle announced three new cloud regions in Virginia, the United Kingdom and Turkey. Oracle says it has doubled the regional presence of its cloud platform in the last 24 months, with 29 regions available globally and more scheduled to come online in APAC, North America, and the Middle East through mid-2018.

    “Oracle is committed to building the most differentiated Cloud Platform that delivers on the requirements of a wide array of customer workloads,” said Deepak Patil, vice president of development, Oracle Cloud Platform. “This regional expansion underscores our commitment to making the engineering and capital investments required to continue to be a global large scale cloud platform leader.”

    Is There Enough Supply?

    Microsoft and Oracle aren’t the only large players focused on the hot Northern Virginia and Chicago markets, where Kerrigan sees robust demand and not a lot of finsihed space.

    “I think Northern Virginia and Chicago don’t have enough supply coming online,” said Kerrigan.

    The Suburban Chicago data center market is seeing an influx of new providers and supply, which positions the region for growth in the accelerating arms race to deploy IT capacity for cloud computing. Chicago is now one of the most active markets for new data center development, with more than 200 megawatts (MWs) of capacity either under construction or in the planning phases.

    Meanwhile, demand in the highly competitive Northern Virginia market continues, with Digital Realty, Equinix, RagingWire, Sabey Data Centers, Infomart Data Centers, DuPont Fabros and Iron Mountain are all building new facilities in the Ashburn to support tenant demand.

    Kerrigan noted several other trends to watch in the wholesale market in 2017:

    • There will be an increase in supply for less resilient data centers and N solutions. In addition, there will be an influx of properties that have densities ranging from 100/kW to over 300/kW. Currently available are N+1 and 2N solutions with higher densities.
    • There were several occasions in 2016 where major tenants have terminated leases early, providing some very attractive plug and play space. It remains to be seen whether density will be sufficient or excessive in markets such as Ashburn and Chicago in 2017.
    • As a result of large increases in data traffic, more subsea cable was laid during 2016 than the last five years combined.
    • New projects in Quebec and Toronto will finally create multi-tenant data center assets in Canada. The decline in the Canadian Dollar has created parity for construction pricing to match some U.S. markets. However, rental rates remain significantly higher.


    http://datacenterfrontier.com/micros...enter-leasing/

  3. #3

  4. #4
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    China Cancels 103 Coal Plants

    MICHAEL FORSYTHE
    JAN. 18, 2017

    China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation, the government announced in a directive made public this week.

    The announcement, made by China’s National Energy Administration, cancels 103 projects that were planned or under construction, eliminating 120 gigawatts of future coal-fired capacity. That includes dozens of projects in 13 provinces, mostly in China’s coal-rich north and west, on which construction had already begun. Those projects alone would have had a combined output of 54 gigawatts, more than the entire coal-fired capacity of Germany, according to figures compiled by Greenpeace.

    The cancellations make it likelier that China will meet its goal of limiting its total coal-fired power generation capacity to 1,100 gigawatts by 2020. That huge figure, three times the total coal-fired capacity in the United States, is far more than China needs. Its coal plants now run at about half of capacity, and new sources of power, such as wind, solar and nuclear, are coming online at a fast clip.

    Nevertheless, China’s capacity would have surged well past the 1,100-gigawatt mark by 2020 had it not begun canceling coal-fired plants that were in the works. The new announcements are in addition to a series of project cancellations detailed last year.

    “The key thing is that yes, China has a long way to go, but in the past few years China has come a very long way,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, a researcher for Greenpeace in Beijing.

    Electricity generated from coal is the biggest source of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, and pollution from such plants contributes to the miasma of smog that has blanketed large parts of China this winter. But despite the vast amount of capacity added in recent years, China’s coal use has been on the decline since 2013.

    Still, China’s state-owned power companies remain politically powerful. Grid operators often favor power generated from coal plants over that made by wind and solar, and despite the cuts, China is still building far more capacity than it needs.

    In contrast, utilities in the United States have only four coal-fired plants set to go online through 2020, with a combined capacity of less than 1 gigawatt, according to the Energy Information Administration. The United States retired more than 13 gigawatts of coal capacity in 2015 as the country shifted toward natural gas, wind and solar.

    Despite the government announcement, it is far from clear that the Chinese jurisdictions most affected by the directive, including Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Xinjiang, will actually take the politically costly move of halting construction, laying off workers and canceling contracts, said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University in southeastern China.

    “Some projects might have been ongoing for 10 years, and now there’s an order to stop them,” he said by telephone. “It’s difficult to persuade the local governments to give up on them.”

    But Mr. Lin and Mr. Myllyvirta said one factor that made the directive likelier to succeed was its specificity. It names each project set for cancellation, putting provincial and other local officials on the spot and making it harder to continue the projects.

    Kiki Zhao contributed research from Beijing.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/w...pollution.html

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