China warns against disorderly development of power-hungry data centres

WCN Editorial Team 8 Dec 2021 ASIA ENERGY & UTILITIES

China has warned its local governments to stop the disorderly construction of data centres and 5G base stations as it aims to cut down carbon emissions.

To meet its commitment of reducing carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 as per the newly published plan, Beijing aims to cut down the reliance of data centres and 5G networks on coal-fired power facilities, reported Reuters.

This plan was authored by the National Development and Reform Commission and departments of technology and telecommunications.

“Data centres and 5G are … the most critical link when it comes to saving energy and reducing consumption of new infrastructure,” stated the new plan.

As data centres are equipped with server racks that can store and process massive volumes of internet data, they also require huge amounts of power to keep the server networks cool and operational.

According to statistics from Greenpeace, the power expenses of the data centres take up to 70% of operating costs.

Greenpeace stated that the estimated power consumption from the data centres and 5G base facilities could surge from 200 billion kilo watt hours (kwh) in 2020 to 782 billion kwh by 2035.

The plan called on local governments to curb construction of power-hungry data centres in areas not allocated as national hubs.

The plan stated: “All localities must strengthen overall guidance for the construction of data centres, and resolutely avoid the blind and disorderly development of data centres.”

It also features ways to boost layout of the data centres and 5G base stations. 

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Image: Data centres consumer huge amounts of power to cool down their server networks. Credit: ananitit from Pixabay

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