For the majority of the interview (from 06:30 onwards) we talked about CIX, how to make data centres carbon neutral (while at the same time facilitating bringing more wind energy onto the national grid!) and the energy efficiency strategies we have designed into the CIX data centre.
I’m going to be printing out the screen grab from this video and using it to scare away the neighbours kids!
The problem with wind power is that its production is variable and difficult to predict. From the perspective of a power supply company, such a supplier is unreliable and likely to de-stabilise the power network.
For instance, at 2am in Ireland, when the demand for electricity is near its lowest, if a 40mph wind is blowing across the country, wind can be supplying up to 30% of the demand. However, if the wind picks up to 50mph, the wind farms shut down to protect their mechanisms and suddenly you lose 30% of your supply! The electricity supply companies have to scramble to bring power stations online to meet the sudden fall off.
In CIX, we have come up with a strategy for Data Centre’s to act as a flywheel for electricity supply companies. This will allow the supply companies to greatly increase the amount of green energy they buy. And if the Data Centre’s are burning biodiesel then you are in a win-win situation .
It seems we are not alone in our thinking – Google, no-less, has come up with a similar strategy using cars! Yes cars. You’d think that with all their data centres they’d use them in the way we propose but they have decided to go the ‘vehicle to grid’ route for now.
Google’s strategy is modify hybrid cars so that they can consume power from the grid. These new ‘plug-in hybrids’ achieve 70-100mpg.
These plug-in hybrids take power from the grid overnight at times of low demand, say. Then the batteries in these cars, which store electricity, can ‘sell’ electricity back to the grid at times of high demand.
Check out the Google video on this to see what I mean:
A cute idea but one which would have to achieve massive scale before making a difference, I suspect.
I was curious to know what the visibility would be like for our mast’s customers (we will be renting out space on the mast) so yesterday when we had a cherry picker onsite I had the driver lift me 10 metres and I took some photos.
I posted the photos on the mast’s page but, for example, looking East-South-East from 10m above the mast’s site you can see the former IFI plant on Great Island (8 miles as the crow flies)!:
Remember these photos were taken from a height of 10m and the mast, when erected later this month, will be a full 24m!
I’m giving a talk tomorrow at 12:20 on “Reducing Information Technology’s ever-increasing carbon footprint”. This is in the context of the work we are doing building a hyper energy-efficient data centre in CIX.
There’s a meetup organised for tonight which I will be going along to. If you see me there, come up and say “Hi!”
In the next few weeks I am flying to Bilbao where I have been selected to be on the prestigious jury forStartup 2.0 – an international competition judging startup companies.
Then I am off to Copenhagen for Reboot 2.0 where my suggestion for a talk about the energy efficiencies in the CIX data centre has been moved to the official program! I’m really stoked about that. It is an incredible honour because the quality of speakers and delegates at Reboot is stratospheric.
And finally I’m off to Remix 07 in Madrid (yes, Spain again – is it my imagination or are the Spanish becoming really active in the web space lately?) to give a couple of talks on social media.
I’m looking forward to the events but dreading the travel. I used to love travel the the mindless security theatre we are now put through makes flying a complete PITA.
I was waylaid in the corridors several times so I didn’t get to as many talks as I would have liked.
I did get to good friend and TCD law lecturer Eoin O’Dell‘s talk on the law, and how it relates to blogging. It was very sobering (and I hadn’t even had a drink!) and very entertaining at the same time! Eoin told us the only way to ensure we weren’t likely to be sued for something we publish online is not to publish anything online!
I also got to Darren Barefoot‘s presentation on Social Media which was excellent, as you’d expect from Darren, despite the wifi letting him down.
I spent the next couple of hours catching up with people and unfortunately I missed Eoghan‘s talk on usability 🙁
After lunch I listened eagerly to John Ward‘s fascinating story of selling Web 2.0 technologies to financial institutions. Well done John, no mean feat.
After the panel discussion it was time for my presentation on CIX. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people stayed awake during a presentation on data centre energy efficiency strategies and a hair-brained carbon neutrality strategy!
After this, I was interviewed for a podcast by Ina (missing out on Krishna‘s talk – sorry Krishna).
Then we retired to the Lord Edward pub.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stay long as I had to catch the train back to Cork but it was shaping up to be a good night when I left.
I see Yahoo! has announced that it is going to follow our lead in CIX *cough* and aim for carbon neutrality!
In the announcement David Filo, co-founder of Yahoo! said:
weâ€™re going to invest in greenhouse gas reduction projects around the world to neutralize Yahoo!â€™s impact on the environment. While doing our homework on this, we measured our carbon footprint and discovered that Yahoo! going carbon neutral is equivalent to shutting off the electricity in all San Francisco homes for a month. Or, pulling nearly 25,000 cars off the road for a year.
While buying carbon credits isn’t the ideal way to go carbon neutral (I can think of a couple of better ways – David, come along to my talk at Barcamp Dublin on Saturday if you want to know more!), it is certainly a step in the right direction and puts a financial imperative on the company to “clean up its act”, from a carbon point of view, at least!
Kudos to Yahoo! for taking this stance and hopefully we’ll see more companies going down this route sooner than later (though I don’t see Halliburton coming on board any time soon).