Energy Internet and eVehicles Overview

Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to prepare society for inevitable climate change. To date most people have been focused on how to reduce Green House Gas emissions, but now there is growing recognition that regardless of what we do to mitigate against climate change the planet is going to be significantly warmer in the coming years with all the attendant problems of more frequent droughts, flooding, sever storms, etc. As such we need to invest in solutions that provide a more robust and resilient infrastructure to withstand this environmental onslaught especially for our electrical and telecommunications systems and at the same time reduce our carbon footprint.

Linking renewable energy with high speed Internet using fiber to the home combined with autonomous eVehicles and dynamic charging where vehicle's batteries are charged as it travels along the road, may provide for a whole new "energy Internet" infrastructure for linking small distributed renewable energy sources to users that is far more robust and resilient to survive climate change than today's centralized command and control infrastructure. These new energy architectures will also significantly reduce our carbon footprint. For more details please see:

Using autonomous eVehicles for Renewable Energy Transportation and Distribution: and

Free High Speed Internet to the Home or School Integrated with solar roof top:

High level architecture of Internet Networks to survive Climate Change:

Architecture and routing protocols for Energy Internet:

How to use Green Bond Funds to underwrite costs of new network and energy infrastructure:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Greening of the Internet Economy

[I think this will be a very seminal conference, as California has probably the most ambitious Co2 emission reduction targets on the planet. As in many other areas, wherever California goes, many others are soon to follow. As there is increasing evidence that we have crossed a tipping point in terms of global warming, ICT will play an even more critical role, not only in terms of abatement but also in terms of the survival of mankind . – BSA]

Every day there is increasing more evidence that we have gone beyond the tipping point and we are now in a situation of runaway global warming.

Conference – Greening of the Internet Economy

We would like to invite you to participate in an important workshop being hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology on Jan 22-23rd,
2009 focused on how Information Communication Technology (ICT) can be used to address issues of global change.

Greening the Internet Economy is an invitation-only event bringing together hundreds of the foremost public policy makers, industry experts, research leaders, and global nonprofits to advance strategies for sustainability and energy efficiency in the rapidly growing realm of information and communications technology (ICT).

With the new world focus on reducing carbon emissions to fight global warming, it is time for the ICT sector to respond by reducing energy usage in a dramatic way, and ensuring ICT elements are built ³green.² This symposium will provide an unprecedented opportunity for decision-makers in key sectors‹ investment, technology, government and business‹ to identify ways of building an Internet economy and infrastructure to ensure a more sustainable future.

Sessions for the event include discussions of how California¹s landmark AB32 legislation will be implemented, opportunities for greening power hungry data centers, how global corporate leaders are reducing their carbon footprint, advances in energy and emerging technology, intelligent transportation, smart buildings, driving consumer efficiency, and the academic perspective on green ICT.

Confirmed speakers include Bill Wiehl from Google (Green Energy Czar), Arne Josefsberg (MS Data Center Architect), Tom Bauman (CEO of Climate Check), Stephen Harper (Global Director for Intel Environmental and Energy Policy), Scott Lang (President and CEO of Silver Spring Network), Rich Lechner (VP for Energy and Environment, IBM) and Wolfgang Wagener (Director of Connected Urban Development, CISCO) are but a few of the exceptional panelists lined up to offer insight for the event.

Seating is limited and this event is invitation-only.

Please accept your invitation as soon as possible to ensure your space and register today at

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Opportunity cost-benefit analysis of Green IT

[An interesting aspect on the debates of solution to CO2 emissions is the cost benefit analysis of various technology approaches. As pointed out in Joseph Romm’s blog “Climate Progress” an opportunity cost benefit analysis highly favours windmills and solar thermal power (not photovoltaics) because they can be deployed quickly and start reducing CO2 emissions immediately. Nuclear power, on the hand, has a huge opportunity cost because of the long time frame it will require to deploy nuclear power plants. As a result, by taking into consideration opportunity cost-benefit analysis nuclear comes off second worst to carbon sequestration in terms of alternate energy solutions for reducing CO2 emissions.

By that same analysis I would argue that Green IT has a significant opportunity benefit even greater than windmills. We know from reports like SMART 2020 that Green IT can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 15%. But since many of these solutions can implemented almost immediately (given sufficient incentives such as mandated carbon neutrality), the opportunity benefit may be significantly greater than the nominal 15% reduction.

As well, given the compelling cost benefit analysis of windmills, it is likely they will contribute a significant amount of baseload power, which could result in wide fluctuations in power availability. As I have pointed out in this blog before, Next Generation Internet network and grids could be readily designed to deal with this fluctuating load without resorting to backup power from batteries or diesel generators. (See my blog on follow the sun/follow the wind networks and grids). This is the mind set we need to develop as we move forward to a future zero carbon society. To date electrical power engineers assume all of their customers need the same degree of reliable power, and therefore are less than enthusiastic about most renewable energy sources because of their unreliability. Green Internet and IT can be easily designed to handle large fluctuations in the availability of renewable energy---BSA]

Joseph Romm’s blog on opportunity cost-benefit analysis

World’s first demo of follow the sun/follow the wind network and grid

Preparing for the next 911 event - climate catastrophe

[Scientists around the world are increasingly being alarmed that CO2 emissions are growing faster than the most pessimistic projections. It is likely that the planet will see a 4C temperature rise which will cause major social and economic disruptions. Unfortunately the public and governments are not going to respond to the seriousness of this situation until we have a major climate catastrophe such as major continent wide drought, collapse of an ice shelf etc. In the event of a major climate catastrophe governments may be forced to undertake draconian steps such as shutting down all coal plants, or imposing carbon neutrality across the entire economy. Clearly this would every major implications on the economy and society. Many organizations have undertaken disaster recovery or business continuity plans to deal with terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but few have done any planning in the event of a climate catastrophe. Terrorist attacks or natural disasters tend to be local and of relatively short duration. A climate catastrophe may be global and last for decades. Are you prepared? Have you implemented network and data solutions that can survive such a long disruption? --- BSA]

My presentation to Dynamic Coalition on Internet and Climate Change (DCICC)
Preparing for the next 911- climate catastrophe

What are the near-term climate Pearl Harbors?

Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst

At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter University this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong. Many of those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political circles. Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them terrified.

Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at Manchester University, was about to send the gloomiest dispatch yet from the frontline of the war against climate change.

Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media headlines and the corporate promises, he would say, carbon emissions were soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios considered by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Stern review.

The battle against dangerous climate change had been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very, very bad.

At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a catastrophic 4C average rise. And even that bleak future, Anderson said, could only be achieved if rich countries adopted "draconian emission reductions within a decade". Only an unprecedented "planned economic recession"
might be enough. The current financial woes would not come close.

Anderson is not the only expert to voice concerns that current targets are hopelessly optimistic. Many scientists, politicians and campaigners privately admit that 2C is a lost cause. Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Environment Department and a former head of the IPCC, warned this year that the world needed to prepare for a 4C rise, which would wipe out hundreds of species, bring extreme food and water shortages in vulnerable countries and cause floods that would displace hundreds of millions of people. Warming would be much more severe towards the poles, which could accelerate melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

Friday, November 28, 2008

High speed broadband will create energy bottleneck and slow Internet

[For an excellent detailed technical analysis of this problem please see Rod Tucker’s presentation – BSA]

The symposium that it refers to can be found online at:

Dr Rod Tucker’s presentation

High speed broadband will create energy bottleneck and slow Internet, new University of Melbourne study
Media Release, Tuesday 25 November 2008
A surge in energy consumption resulting from increased uptake of broadband will further slow Australia’s Internet, according to University of Melbourne research to be presented this week at the Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT.
“Increased services like Video on Demand will put pressure on the system and create an energy bottleneck,” said Dr Kerry Hinton of the University’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the ARC Special Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN).

In a world-first model of internet power consumption, University of Melbourne researchers have been able to identify the major contributors to Internet power consumption as the take-up of broadband services grows in the coming years.

"It has now become clear that the exponential growth of the Internet is not sustainable, “said Dr Hinton.

The result indicates that, even with the improvements in energy efficiency of electronics, the power consumption of the Internet will increase from 0.5% of today’s national electricity consumption to 1% by around 2020.

Dr Hinton says the growth of the Internet, IT broadband telecommunications will provide a wide range of new products and services.

New home services include Video on Demand, web based real-time gaming, social networking, peer-to-peer networking and more. For the business community, new services may include video conferencing, outsourcing and tele-working.

“To support these new high-bandwidth services, the capacity of the Internet will need to be significantly increased. If Internet capacity is increased, the energy consumption, and consequently the carbon footprint of the Internet will also increase.”

“This will place a major burden on the nation’s power infrastructure as well as significantly contribute to green house gas production.”

Hinton says major ICT and Internet based companies are already experiencing difficulties due to the size and power requirements of servers, routers and data centres.

The model includes the entire network infrastructure required to provide the increasing traffic volumes arising from proposed new high-bandwidth services.

“Increasing amounts of energy will be needed to power and cool Internet equipment that provides high speed broadband.”

“If service providers don’t update their equipment, energy consumption will soar, but then cost of updating may also be prohibitive.”

“This model is important because it shows us where we must focus our efforts to ensure the Internet is energy efficient. If we don’t do this, the Internet will not fulfil the social and economic promise many of us are expecting of it,” Dr Hinton said

The research will be presented at “Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT” hosted by The ARC Special Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN) 25 – 26 November at the University of Melbourne.

“The Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT is the first technology symposium in Australia to bring together researchers and practitioners involved with the design and deployment of the Internet, today and into the future,” he said.
Highlights of the program include

• Carbon Rewards Instead of Carbon Taxes - Bill St. Arnaud (Canarie, Canada)
• Green @ Google: A Commitment to Sustainability - ‘Kevin Chen (Google)
• Sources of Energy Drain on Internet Datacenters - Dr. Eng-Lim Goh (Silicon Graphics Inc)
• Smart 2020: Enabling the Low Carbon Economy in the Information Age
Jodi Newcombe (The Climate Group)

For more information visit

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leaders call for "Green" stimulus package

[It is very likely that over the next few years America will need to invest between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, and perhaps even greater amounts to revive the economy. The question is where this money will come from? Already the American economy is deeply indebted and likely to be more so in the coming years. There is a deep aversion to increased taxes in the United States and as such the willingness of foreigners to continue to underwrite the US debt will be severely tested in the coming years.

President-elect Obama has reaffirmed his commitment to a cap and trade system in the US and many leaders in Congress and elsewhere are calling for a “green” stimulus package. We know from past experience that ICT and broadband can have a direct and measurable impact on GDP growth of between 2-3% and that a number of studies have indicated that “true” broadband (ie symmetrical bandwidth in excess of 100 Mbps) can increase GDP by as much as 5%.

Investing in IT and Broadband would play to America’s strengths (where surprisingly it lags the rest of the world). IT and Broadband have a very small carbon footprint, with the potential to even become zero carbon, but whose economic leverage in terms of job creation and wealth and more importantly reducing CO2 emissions (up to 15%) is significantly greater than any other industry sector or green initiative such as alternate energy, public transportation etc

Cap and trade or carbon taxes/rewards has the potential of generating trillions dollars of revenue, based on the analysis of the Stern report in the UK. This is not money conjured out of the air or borrowed from international lenders – rather it is money that normally would be sent to oil rich states around the world and/or spent on wasted energy consumption. This money could easily cover the costs of a national broadband program, health care and other important social initiatives. And with carbon rewards consumers could see a direct benefit of cap and trade (or carbon tax) as traditional economic stimulus for these initiatives as opposed to the money flowing through government.

. Excerpts from an article in the Globe and Mail—BSA]

Saving the economy and saving the planet at the same time were once considered two mutually incompatible goals. But not any longer.

A chorus of proposals from [..]think tanks and conservation organizations is suggesting that the best way to revive the faltering economy would be to finance solutions to pressing environmental problems.

Supporters are calling the idea "green stimulus." They argue that directing new government expenditures to wind farms, solar panels, gas-sipping cars and mass-transit infrastructure, among other items, would give a far bigger boost to the economy than tax cuts or government rebates.

The environmental funding would have the side benefit of helping solve such problems as global warming by spurring the development of less-polluting energy sources and increased energy efficiency.

Those arguing for green spending contend that these programs are superior to tax rebates or tax cuts for consumers, the benefits of which tend to leak out of a country because some of the money is spent on imports.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Technology Leaders Unite to Call for National Strategy for Environment and Economy

[As I have mentioned previously reducing CO2 emissions is a huge business opportunity for the IT sector. In the UK alone it is estimated that CO2 abatement will be over 900m Euro (over $1 Trillion US) !! Given the importance of IT in the US economy and globally, the economic opportunities are enormous. Thanks to Jerry Sheehan for this pointer—BSA]

Technology and Environmental Leaders Unite to Call for National Strategy on Economy, Energy and Environment

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Technology and environmental leaders today announced a new initiative to develop a national strategy for information and communications technologies (ICT) to improve the energy efficiency of the economy.

The Digital Energy Solutions Campaign is made up of leading technology companies and organizations as well as environmental and energy conservation groups working on energy efficiency initiatives. The Campaign will work with the incoming Obama Administration and Congressional leaders to educate and promote how ICT strategies can make our economy robust while at the same time becoming increasingly energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

³As Congress considers a new economic stimulus package, adopting policies that drive ICT implementation can not only provide a near-term boost to our economy but also help us achieve the long-term goal of making our economy more energy efficient,² said DESC Co-Chair Stephen Harper, Global Director of Environment and Energy Policy at Intel.

DESC members include the technology sector leaders Dell, EMC, HP, Intel, the Technology CEO Council, and Verizon. Non-governmental organization members include the Alliance to Save Energy, The Climate Group, and the World Wildlife Fund.

The fact that DESC was launched at the Smart2020 Conference reflects the group¹s goal of working with established and leading authorities such as The Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) to drive the adoption of a national strategy to utilize information and communications technologies to boost energy efficiency.

The event is a product of the recent study of the same name by The Climate Group and GeSI, which found that ICT-enabled solutions could reduce global carbon emissions by 15 percent by 2020.

³There has never been a time in which the future of our economy, our energy needs and environment have been so inextricably linked,² said DESC Co-Chair Paul Brownell, Senior Manager, Federal Government Affairs at Dell. ³We must take an approach that leverages technology to make our economy more energy efficient and promotes new green industries that will spur a wave of growth and job creation.²

DESC outlined a policy framework to make private industries and government more energy efficient, create behavior changes to make us more energy efficient and reduce ICT¹s energy needs. Among its proposals, DESC calls on Congress and the new Obama Administration to establish a national strategy to build political support for, and prioritize the critical elements of, a program to promote the role of ICT in driving economic, energy and climate solutions. Such elements might include:

* Implementing utility decoupling so that a utility¹s profit is no longer merely tied to the volume of sales but to how efficiently the utility delivers energy.
* Creating incentives for green tech infrastructure such as parking-garage facilities for plug-in hybrid cars. National programs are needed to ensure standards are set to accelerate the market.
* Implementing policies to promote smart buildings, including federal government model building codes for the construction of building that use less energy. The federal government can also lead by example with the construction of its own ³smart buildings.²
* Creating incentives to encourage telecommuting such as allowing businesses to accelerate the depreciation on the home work equipment.
* Creating education and promotion programs for Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS). HEMS can reduce energy consumption by 30 percent in homes are currently offered but because of the lack of incentives for utilities are not widely encouraged or adopted.

To learn more about DESC, go to


Amber Allmans, 202-297-4407


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The multi-trillion dollar business opportunity in reducing global warming with IT

[Increasingly around the world investors and policy makers are realizing that reducing global warming is the going to be the next humongous business opportunity. This market has the potential to dwarf all other major fundamental economic transformations such as electrification, railroads, automobiles, etc.

I recently attended a Green IT conference in Lisbon and was blown away how countries like Portugal of grasped the significance of Green IT and its potential to create economic wealth for their country. Both the President of and the President of the EC spoke very knowledgably on this subject at this conference. They understand that future growth of their economies, and the creation of jobs will be increasingly dependent on reducing global warming by developing alternative energy sources and the use of IT in all sectors of society to reduce or eliminate Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

I highly recommend looking at some of the presentations that were given at this conference. In particular Dr Chris Hope of the Judge Business School at Cambridge University has done some excellent analysis for the UK government Stern report that showed for the UK alone the revenue opportunity of reducing GHG emission would be in excess of 600 billion euros!! Worldwide the potential is hundreds, of not thousands of trillions of dollars in the coming decades!!

While most policy makers advocate that this revenue is so large it should be captured through carbon taxes (balanced against tax reductions in other sectors) or cap and trade (through auctioned permits), there is a concern that these policy tools may not significantly reduce CO2 emissions but instead simply increase the cost of doing business. As well there is a genuine fear that these tax revenues will be used to fund politicians favourite projects or be captured by dirty emitters such as the “Clean Coal” coalition. Additional tools are needed in the toolbox to directly address the challenge of global warming such as mandated carbon neutrality and carbon “rewards” (rather than carbon taxes). These later tools are the ones that have the potential to create significant new business opportunities, as investments to reduce GHG emissions flows will directly between consumers and businesses without being intercepted by the sticky fingers of government . More importantly they will directly address the reduction of GHG emissions as such initiatives require direct measurement of GHG reductions through standard such as ISO 14064.

Several governments already have mandated carbon neutrality such as the governments of British Columbia and New Zealand where public sector institutions are mandated to be carbon neutral. Other governments are also looking at requiring suppliers to government to carbon neutral or include the cost of carbon in the products and services they sell to government. Some university funding agencies are also looking at the possibility of researchers including the cost of carbon in all research proposals.

For many examples of carbon rewards please see my blog at

The following excerpt from a blog on the recent Web 2.0 conference I believe further highlights the business opportunity Green IT – BSA]

Portuguese conference on Green IT

Web Firms Step Into Green Shadow in the Valley

At last week’s Web 2.0 Summit — the annual convention that has come to represent the new web boom –- a leading web industry journalist asked me if green technology was here to stay, or if it is just another fad that would die at the hands of dropping gas prices and a recession. “I think it’s one of the world’s biggest opportunities,” I responded, and what I wish I’d have added is this: It’s also trumping the web in terms of excitement, innovation and inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

That cleantech is, at the very least, what people are excited about was obvious at last week’s Summit. Green startups — even those that had little to do with the web — took over large parts of the show. Former Vice President, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Kleiner Perkins cleantech investor Al Gore received a standing ovation for his keynote. The CEO and Chairman of high-profile electric vehicle startup Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, and the CEO of electric vehicle infrastructure startup Better Place, Shai Agassi, both had long fireside chats with the conference-organizers. And half of the startups in the launchpad section of the show were green companies — Carbonetworks, GoodGuide and Sungevity.

Perhaps the biggest indicator at the show, though, was when John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, declared green technology to be “the growing thing in Silicon Valley” and said kick-starting energy research will be President-elect Barack Obama’s most important task. Kleiner was responsible for Internet investments like Google (GOOG) and has now allocated a third of its fund to green investments — equal to the amount it’s pumping into digital media/web plays. Doerr even told the audience that Kleiner partner Bill Joy would be a good choice for Obama’s Chief Technology Officer; Joy has stated for the past year that he is staying away from most Internet investments and focusing entirely on innovations to fight climate change.

But the overall cleantech industry will survive a downturn. The opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovation is large — and just starting to be realized. Energy alone is a $6 trillion market, compared to $100 billion for the Internet. And the industries that cleantech entrepreneurs are trying to tackle — power generation, the power grid, the water system — have been largely neglected in terms of technology innovation. As Thomas Friedman points out in “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” paraphrasing GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt: Over three decades GE has sold eight or nine generations of medical devices, but only one generation of energy technology.

There’s also the fact that the underlying problems that have lead to the ascendancy of cleantech are still persistent. The price of gas might fluctuate wildly, but the planet is still growing increasingly warm, and the population is still expected to boom to more than 9 billion people in the next three decades — largely in developing countries like India and China. Cleantech is about figuring out smart, sustainable ways to allocate resources like energy, water, and raw materials; the need for which won’t disappear in the face of temporarily cheap fuel.

The recession could also turn federal legislators green in the coming months. President-elect Obama is calling for the creation of 5 million green jobs in a decade and has pledged to provide more support for renewable energy than any other previous administration. Josh Green, managing partner at MDV thinks that Obama’s cleantech plan will make up part of the economic recovery package, as does Al Gore. If green jobs really can help ease the pain of the recession, the cleantech industry would find even more government and private sector support when we eventually get to better financial times.

Friday, October 31, 2008

How Cap and trade can pay for national broadband, cyber-infrastructure and distressed mortgages

[Many countries like USA and Australia are following Europe’s lead and planning to deploy national cap and trade systems in order to fight CO2 emissions. Since both presidential candidates in the USA have promised a cap and trade system, a national US cap and trade is likely to be deployed very early in the new presidential mandate.

Few people involved with broadband or cyber-infrastructure understand the potential impact of cap and trade on their operations. Cap and trade can be a significant cost to universities and broadband operators, but it also, paradoxically can be a huge financial opportunity to underwrite the costs of these very important infrastructures.

Telecom is a major consumer of power and emitter of GHG emission (Scope 2). British Telecom, for example, claims they are the largest single power consumer (and hence GHG emitter) in the UK. Australia has recently discovered that new proposed national broadband architecture, using antiquated VDSL technology, will require the energy output of 5 new power plants. A typical university produces somewhere between 200,000 to 500,000 metric tons (mT) of CO2 of which anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 mT can be attributed to campus ICT and cyber-infrastructure.

Cap and trade is essentially a hidden carbon tax. Although there are many complexities to cap and trade, and the details of the US cap and trade are not known, it has the potential to impose a huge financial burden on telecom operators and universities. Initially Australia and USA are likely to have much lower cap price and the impact will be very much dependent at what level they set the “cap” , but over time the cap will be lowered and the price of CO2 that exceeds the cap will rise. Europe next year is proposing to set the price of cap and trade CO2 at $100 per mTon. So do the math people!!! This can have a huge cost on your current operations in terms of increased cost of energy. We are talking millions, if not billions of dollars here.

But as I mentioned earlier, cap and trade (as well as much more efficient carbon taxes) can also be a significant financial opportunity for network operators and university cyber-infrastructure. The dollar amounts being talked about are staggering – trillions of dollars in carbon offsets are expected to exchange hands in the coming years with cap and trade. With this kind of money, not only could you bail out the all the banks in North America, but you could also pay for all sorts of national policy programs like national broadband, healthcare, cyber-infrastructure etc etc.

Chinese entrepreneurs, so far, have been the biggest beneficiaries of cap and trade – last year they earned $7.3 billion dollars in carbon offsets from the European cap and trade system. It baffles me that exalted American entrepreneur is nowhere is to be found in making money from this business!!

Universities and telecom operators need to understand how cap and trade works now. Cyber-infrastructure and broadband are the ONLY technologies where we can achieve significant reductions in our respective carbon footprints at our institutions and networks. But it is imperative that you deploy the right architectures. Point to point home run fiber may be more expensive than VDSL, but its carbon footprint is significantly less. More importantly the cost differential between P2P home run versus VDSL can be easily be paid for through carbon offsets (if not the entire cost of the fiber) because of its smaller footprint. Home run fiber will also enable the new high speed applications like tele-presence, etc that might enable the network operator, or consumer, to earn additional carbon offsets or carbon credits.

Zero carbon data centers, cyber-infrastructure facilities and central offices powered by renewable energy will also enable universities, businesses and telecom operators to earn billions of dollars in carbon offsets. Virtualization, clouds and SOA will be critical to this strategy. To learn more please see these week’s issue of the Economist special feature on corporate IT.

But to earn these valuable dollars you have got to understand the ISO and WRI processes for measuring and accounting for GHG emissions. Simple claims of increased energy efficiency, turning off computers or printers is NOT enough and will not be eligible for carbon offsets. You must plan for a zero carbon architecture if you want to earn valuable carbon offset dollars.

Many economists are starting to recognize that we must help those with distressed mortgages if we are going to quickly recover from this financial crisis (see this week’s Economist Oct 26). Bailing out the banks will not be sufficient to restore confidence in the economy. There are many proposals on how to help those out who face big increases in their mortgages where the value of the house is significantly below that of the mortgage itself. Carbon credits earned from carbon offsets may be one way to address this problem. Home owners would help the planet by reducing their carbon footprint and the extra money spent on heating or transportation because of cap and trade, or carbon tax could be credited to their mortgage account, instead of being sent to the government, or worse Clean Coal. In fact I would suggest that mortgage payments be made directly with the carbon credit where the bank would have to its own carbon reduction in order to convert the credit to real cash. For more details please see

What is the biggest obstacle to this future nirvana of carbon offsets through cap and trade? Clean Coal.

The Clean coal coalition will fight tooth and nail to prevent or emasculate cap and trade, as they are the biggest contributors to global warming. One ton of coal produces almost 3 tons of CO2. They are the enemy. As far as I am concerned apologists for clean coal should be hauled up in front the war crimes tribunal in the Hague and be charged with planetary genocide.

For more rants on Clean Coal and global warming as well as detailed information on how to earn carbon offsets please see


Thursday, October 30, 2008

World's first demo of "follow the sun/follow the wind" internet and grid

[At the PROMPT workshop on “Next Generation Internet to Reduce Global Warming” researchers from Barcelona, Amsterdam, Ottawa and Chicago demonstrated the world’s first “follow the sun/follow the wind” Internet and computational grid where routing and computational nodes of HPDMnet, sitting on top of an optical infrastructure provided by GLIF, SURFnet, CANARIE, i2CAT, STAR LIGHT were rapidly relocated around the world simulating the availability of renewable energy sources at these nodes. The researchers demonstrated that virtual machines and logical routers (and associated network topologies) could be quickly moved within a matter of seconds (or minutes if storage also had to be relocated), which is well within the turbine spin down cycle of windmills and the diurnal power curve of solar panels.

Although the story that Internet was originally designed to survive a nuclear war may not be true, the Internet does have the inherent capability to survive a far more serious crisis facing this planet – global warming. The same applies to cyber-infrastructure facilities such as computational grids. As the demand for renewable energy grows because of proposed cap and trade systems in the US and elsewhere, those industry sectors that can use low cost renewable energy sources, “in situ”, as opposed to being connected to the electrical grid will be well positioned to dominate the new zero carbon economy.

The advent of 1000G wavelengths next year and the adoption of many of the UCLP principles by companies like CISCO with their new XR router IOS (based on another Ottawa company’s real time OS-QNX) will allow deployment of global articulated private networks (APNs) using logical routers, which will further enable a future Internet whose nodes can be entirely operated with renewable power facilities that are independent of the electrical grid. Internet routing protocols and network configuration tools like UCLP (Argia) used in combination with logical routers and virtual computers will allow for the rapid re-configuration of virtual networks and distributed computing based on the local availability of renewable power.

In the coming year more nodes of the HPDMnet network will be powered solely by windmills or solar panels. Researchers from around the world are more than welcome to participate in this exciting initiative.

Congratulations to Mathieu Lemay and his colleagues at i2Cat, UoAmsterdam, CRC, iCAIR, PROMPT, SURFnet and CANARIE for this successful demo.

For more details on “follow the sun/follow the wind” project please see

For information on HPDMnet please

For information on PROMPT’s Next Generation Internet to Reduce Global Warming please see

World's first green cyber-infrastrucure collaboration announced

[This Memorandum of Understanding is a very exciting first step in how green cyber-infrastructure can address the challenges of green house gas emissions at our universities and research centers. Of particular interest is the proposal to explore development of “virtual” carbon trading where cyber-infrastructure services can be used in exchange for carbon offsets in order to help reduce an institution’s carbon footprint – BSA]
California, Canada campuses combat greenhouse gas emissions with green IT
In one of the first efforts of its kind, universities in Canada and California are pledging to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their campuses while developing so-called "green cyberinfrastructure" – information technology that improves energy efficiency and reduces the impact of emissions on climate change.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today by the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of California, San Diego – both sustainability leaders – and Prompt Inc., a non-profit corporation that fosters research and development, building university-industry partnerships to increase the competitiveness of Quebec's information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
The MoU signing took place at the third Summit of the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP), held Oct. 26-27 in Montreal.
"By pooling our knowledge, resources and best practices, Canada and the U.S. will be that much more able to contribute cutting edge research on climate change," says John Hepburn, UBC Vice-President, Research.
"Moreover, this is a critical lead role that we're taking to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from computer and telecommunications technologies within campus infrastructure."
In the near term, the institutions agreed to develop methods to share greenhouse gas (GHG) emission data in connection with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for information computer and telecommunications equipment (ISO 14062), as well as baseline emission data for cyberinfrastructure and networks (ISO 14064).
"Many universities are confronting the issue of global climate change with a new focus on sustainability," said Art Ellis, Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego. "This MoU creates a unique international partnership that will examine how cyberinfrastructure can be used in research universities to create carbon-neutral environments. We are committed to sharing best practices, and working together to realize the promise of our collaboration."
"This collaboration will enable the development of industrially-relevant methodologies and technologies with broad application across the ICT sector," says Charles Despins, President and CEO of Prompt.
"Building on our mandate," says Despins, "we aim to facilitate university-industry partnerships that will help translate 'green' research results into viable new commercial opportunities for companies in Quebec, across Canada and California."
"While the carbon footprint of high performance computing has risen because of huge growth in this area, networking and trends such as virtualization offer great hope that we can also be part of the solution," says Bill St. Arnaud, Chief Research Officer at CANARIE. "This MoU reinforces existing close links between key Canadian institutions and their counterparts in California, notably at UC San Diego, and we are hopeful that over time we will be able to extend the alliance to other universities in both countries."
[Excerpts from the MoU]
The University of California, San Diego is one of the premier research universities in the United States and it committed to continued institutional leadership in the area of understanding, analyzing, and developing solutions to issues of global climate change. UCSD was recently rated 21st out of 300 colleges and universities surveyed by the Green Report Card, was the first University on the West Coast to join the Chicago Climate Exchange, and through the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, is host to the GreenLight Project for measuring climate impact of cyberinfrastructure.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities with a strong commitment to sustainability research and practice. In the 2009 Green Report Card, UBC is the only university in Canada to earn an A- and one of just 15 schools to achieve that grade. In 1997, UBC became Canada's first university to implement a sustainable development policy. A year later, the university opened Canada's first Sustainability Office (SO). UBC is among hundreds of leading educational institutions that signed 1990's Talloires Declaration. These institutions pledged to make sustainability the foundation for campus operations, research, and teaching.

PROMPT Inc (PROMPT) is both a private corporation and a non-profit organization whose efforts are supported financially by the Quebec government and industry in the ICT sector. Its objective is to reinforce the Quebec innovation system and increase the benefits of public investments to research. Prompt’s mission is to enhance the competitiveness of companies in the ICT sector through research partnerships with universities and Quebec public research centers. These research partnerships are jointly financed by the private sector, the Quebec government and the government of Canada. PROMPT has recently been building a Green Next Generation Internet initiative involving a large critical mass of domestic and foreign partners. (


The signatories to this agreement recognize that:

1. Global climate change is occurring and that society has a responsibility to address it;

2. Cyber-infrastructure, research networks, and information communication technologies are critical tools in helping North American universities and research centers reduce their GHG emissions;

3. Many universities throughout North America are moving toward carbon-neutral strategies either on a voluntary basis, or as part of a government mandate; and

4. UCSD, UBC and PROMPT wish to further promote their respective objectives by providing for appropriate collaborations and interconnections between their researchers, public sector organizations, and industry partners.


Therefore, UCSD, UBC and PROMPT agree as follows:

1. To explore and share best practices in reducing GHG emissions at their respective institutions and more specifically to develop methods to share GHG emission data for ICT equipment (ISO 14062) and baseline emission data for cyber-infrastructure and networks as per ISO 14064, either through a common registry or other means.

2. To strategically engage the appropriate national organizations in their respective countries toward securing resources that will support various instruments and test beds - such as UCSD’s “GreenLight Project” and PROMPT’s G-NGI - to enable measurement of ISO 14062 life cycle and ISO 14064 project baseline emission data.

3. To work with national funding bodies in their respective countries for the establishment of cyber-infrastructure programs to explore carbon reduction strategies enabled, either directly or indirectly, by new network and distributed computing architectures such as PROMPT G-NGI, OptiPuter and CineGrid.

4. To collaborate with appropriate wide area research networks to explore methodologies and architectures to decrease GHG emissions, including options such as relocation of resources to renewable energy sites, virtualization, etc.

5. To explore the potential for “virtual” carbon trading systems, whereby carbon offsets earned through a variety of GHG reduction mechanisms are traded between participating institutions in exchange for access to cyber-infrastructure resources (grid computational cycles, wide area network bandwidth, research funding and or other virtual services.)

6. To explore the creation of a multi-sector pilot of a generalized carbon trading system including stakeholders from government, industry, and universities.

7. To collaborate with each other and with government agencies and departments and other organizations in their respective countries to promote and encourage other universities, institutions and organizations such as EDUCAUSE, CENIC, Compute Canada, CANARIE, and CUCCIO to be additional signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wind powered cell phone tower

[Here is a good example of the type of innovation we need for future wireless and wired networks. Although the emission of CO2 by telecommunication networks is relatively small, the rate of growth of these emissions is much faster than from other sectors of society. This is one example of a larger research strategy, of which Ericsson is a partner, to power all components of the network with renewable power including distributed computing, optical repeaters, switches, Internet routers and CPE equipment. This will create new challenges in terms of reliability and restorability of the network. Stay tuned for some major announcements in this field next week at the PROMPT workshop and the California Canada summit on Green IT – BSA]

PROMPT workshop on building zero carbon networks

California-Canada summit on Green IT


Ericsson Designs a Wind-Powered Cell Tower
Working with Vertical Wind AB and Uppsala University in Sweden, Ericsson researchers have developed a wind-powered tower for wireless base stations.

The wind-powered Tower Tube takes the energy-lean design of Ericsson's original Tower Tube one step further by employing renewable energy. It harnesses wind power via a four-blade turbine with five-meter blades vertically attached to the tower. The vertical rotor blades work silently and minimize the load on the tower during operation.

Trials are currently planned to determine if the design can truly enable low-cost mobile communication, with reduced impacts on both the local and global environment.

The Ericsson Tower Tube construction houses base stations and antennas, fully enclosing them in an aesthetically pleasing concrete tower. It has a smaller footprint and lower environmental impact than traditional steel towers with CO2 emissions related to materials, such as production an transportation, that are at least 30 percent lower.

Furthermore, the Ericsson Tower Tube has no need for feeders and cooling systems. With up to 40 percent lower power consumption than traditional base station sites, it helps operators reduce their operating costs significantly. It employs cutting-edge design and can be built in many sizes and painted in a variety of colors, making it a natural fit for any landscape.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Details on how to earn carbon offset dollars for networks, cyber-infrastructure & ICT

Here a couple of excellent web sites explaining the detail process of how to calculate baseline GHG emission data for your network, ICT equipment or cyber-infrastructure. Once you have established a baseline for your current emissions your organization can then explore how to go about reducing its GHG emissions in order to meet carbon neutrality goals either set by your organization or government and ultimately earn carbon offset dollars from various carbon trading exchanges and/or trusts.

Virtualization of networks and computing through clouds or grids using SOA, as well as purchasing green power or moving infrastructure facilities to zero carbon data will be the most likely ways that organizations can reduce their GHG emissions in order to earn carbon offset dollars. But before proceeding with expensive and time consuming baseline GHG measurements, an organization should first determine whether they are ready to move to a world of virtual networks (including virtual routers and switches), virtual servers and cloud applications. If the organization’s “server huggers” are not prepared to let go of their physical computers, routers and switches, then there is no point in proceeding with a baseline assessment.

Networks, ICT and cyber-infrastructure are about the only places in an organization where significant GHG reductions are possible. In most organizations in the service sector (education, health, government, banking, finance, telecom, etc) ICT is, by and far, the largest producer of GHG emissions. Although same savings in GHG emission can be made through video conferencing, tele-commuting, tele-work centers and adjusting building heating and cooling systems, these savings will be marginal compared to the savings that are possible through virtualization and use of green power, or relocating ICT equipment to zero carbon data centers.

The dollar savings in energy costs and potential to earn carbon offset dollars can be the several of millions of dollars per year for a small to medium size organization (50 – 500 people).

You can quickly do your own back of the envelope calculation of the potential dollars (within an order of magnitude) for your organization:

1. Each computer server produces 8 tons of CO2 per year
2. Each PC or laptop produces 4 tons of CO2 per year
3. Each printer or photocopier produces 10 tons of CO2 per year
4. Each router produces 20 tons of CO2 per year
5. Each Ethernet switch produces 5 tons of CO2 per year

Carbon offsets are currently trading between $7- $20 per ton, but next year Europe is projected to raise the carbon price from cap and trade to $100 per ton. It is expected that cost of carbon will soon rise to $400 to $1000 per ton over the next few years.

The above numbers assume that all the electrical power used by the organization is generated from coal. However, even if your electrical power is from cleaner sources such as nuclear, gas and oil, it is expected that cap and trade will be push up cost of power from these sources at a slight discount of that power produced from coal. True renewable power such as that produced by windmills, hydro and solar systems may trade at a premium to the market, especially within large urban centers. ---BSA]

Guidelines for Quantifying GHG Reductions from Grid-Connected Electricity Projects

The Purchase of Green Power

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Google's Best Bet: Organzing Energy Use to reduce CO2 emissions

[Great article in Gigaom on how companies like Google can make money on the energy market. I have long argued that this is where future business opportunities lie with “gCommerce” – green Commerce.

The energy market is orders of magnitude larger than Internet market or click advertising. It is also a market limited by resource scarcity, which ultimately means increased costs and larger opportunities for revenue growth ( this is how the oil companies have become so rich). The internet and “e”Commerce on the other hand are markets of abundance where is scarcity is only an artifact created by the carriers. In markets of abundance, costs will inevitably go down, as will revenue opportunities. What we need to do is create revenue opportunities in markets of scarcity in exchange for offering free services in markets of abundance. For some examples please see

Google and other companies don’t have to wait for smart meters and smart grids in order to realize revenue from the energy market. There already exists a trillion dollar market in energy resale –where you don’t have to make single investment in infrastructure or equipment. The only cost to get in, is a license fee of a couple thousand dollars per state or province. Unfortunately that low entry fee and huge revenue potential has attracted a lot of unsavory companies and the energy re-sale market today is characterized by shady business practices and millions of customer complaints.

If companies like Google entered the market they could use their “click advertising” skills to quickly drive down costs and also provide an aura of credibility and respectability to the industry. Companies like Google could also be big drivers in gCommerce to help consumers reduce their CO2 footprint by offering virtual products and services in exchanging for the consumer purchasing renewable power at a premium to conventional dirty power. Some excerpts from the GigaOm article–BSA]

Google’s Best Energy Bet: Organizing Energy Usage

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information — be it via search, email, online maps or mobile apps — but it could someday help you manage your daily energy consumption, too. At a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that as part of its recently announced collaboration with GE, the search engine giant is currently looking at designing tools to help consumers understand their energy consumption. Google has also been actively looking at utilities’ smart meter projects, he said, and at using its strong connection with consumers to play a role in consumer energy management.

Helping consumers, even utilities, manage energy data is a perfect fit for Google. The power grid in its current form won’t be able to support the loads — inefficient and unintelligent, it has yet to benefit from the technologies of the information age. Meanwhile, at the edges of the grid, consumers know very little about their energy use; monthly electricity bills have an appalling lack of transparency and options compared to industries like cell phones.

That said, there probably isn’t a company that has changed consumer behavior online more than Google. It has not only shaped how consumers access information. So Google is wise to be looking into online tools, or even a wireless home networking product, that could help consumers change their energy consumption behavior. They’re clearly headed in that direction: “It seems obvious to me that if you give [energy] information to end users they behave smartly,” Schmidt said in his speech. “So we are working on that.” It could ultimately be the most important contribution Google makes to fighting climate change. As Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency notes, advanced technology deployments will take several decades and a lot of capital. Simple tools that can affect the behavior of the average consumer’s energy usage will be more cost-effective and can be implemented now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Cyber-infrastructure and research networks can help reduce CO2 footprint

[There are a couple of upcoming meetings-workshops on how cyber-infrastructure and research networks can help universities and research networks reduce their carbon footprint and possibly even earn carbon offset dollars.

The first meeting will be the California-Canada summit to be held in Montreal October 26-27. This is an invitation only event which will involve leading carbon accounting firms, industry players and academia from Canada and California where we will be exploring possibility of some collaborative initiatives between Canada and California on how research networks and cyber-infrastructure can help reduce the carbon footprint at our respective institutions. Dr Larry Smarr, Harry E. Gruber Prof, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego and myself will be co-chairs of this event. If you have expertise in carbon accounting and GHG life cycle measurements with respect to ICT (ISO 14062 and ISO 14064), in particular research networks and cyber-infrastructure, you may be interested in attending this event. Please contact Lisa Stockley ( about a possible invitation.

The second meeting is being sponsored by PROMPT Inc on October 28th and will be a continuation of the California-Canada summit but with a focus on Next Generation Internet to Reduce Global Warming (G-NGI) This workshop will focus on the development of new computing and Internet architectures to reduce global warming as well as the establishment of ISO 14064 testbeds in order to baseline emission measurements in order for network researchers and campus CIOs to potentially qualify for carbon offsets. This workshop is also invitation only, so please contact Jacques McNeill if you are interested in attending (

Finally there will be session on Green Cyber-Infrastructure and research networking at the CANARIE-ORION summit on November 4 in Toronto which will also involve leading carbon accounting firms such as ZeroFootPrint and Climate-Check where they will explain the various standards and processes for measuring CO2 baseline emissions and how to possibly qualify for carbon offsets.


Increasingly it is being recognized that Climate Change is an issue that we all have a responsibility to address. Its solely not a problem restricted to coal burning power plants or drivers of SUVs. It will also have a major impact on how we carry out research and teaching at our universities. Most significantly cyber-infrastructure and IT may now be one of the major contributors to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions at our universities and research centers. Fortunately, although cyber-infrastructure and IT may be part of the problem, it is also part of the solution.

Many universities throughout North America are adopting carbon neutral strategies either on a voluntary basis, or as part of a government mandate. This workshop/seminar will help inform university IT departments, CIOs and researchers the necessary steps on how to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint

This workshop will show how to collect GHG life cycle data (ISO 14062) for their respective cyber-infrastructure and IT hardware vendors and how to establish ISO 14064 baseline data as soon as possible for their respective campus and wide area networks and IT equipment, from which future GHG reductions will be measured (and this potentially eligible for carbon offset dollars). Finally new network and distributed computing architectures will be discussed that may allow institutions to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of their current cyber-infrastructure and networks.]

Monday, September 29, 2008

Carbon credits instead of carbon taxes

[Although it is recognized by economists that carbon taxes are probably the best approach in terms of providing the right incentives to get consumers to reduce their carbon footprint, they are almost an impossible political sell in North America.

However, some experts have argued that instead of carbon taxes we need carbon rewards or credits. Carbon rewards or credits work the same way as taxes in that you pay a surcharge on carbon emitting products such as gasoline, etc. But rather than having the money fall into the hands of government the money flows back directly into the hands of consumers in terms of credits. Consumers can use these credits to purchase “virtualized” zero carbon products and services. This is where broadband networks can play a critical role, as virtualized products can only be delivered over true broadband networks. In fact I argue the networks themselves should be paid for through carbon credits as in our proposed free fiber to the home business model (

Ron Dembo of ZeroFootPrint has written a great paper on the concept of carbon credits which was recently covered in the Globe and Mail:

To read the entire paper please see

The ZeroFootPrint web site also has excellent articles explaining the intricacies of carbon offsets and developing a detailed carbon accounting plan in line with ISO 14064 and related standards – BSA]

Monday, September 22, 2008

A plea to the computing and telecommunications industry - ISO 14064 certification

[We have been hearing a lot lately about the benefits of ICT to reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. Several studies indicate that ICT may reduce GHG emissions by as much as 15%.

At the same time many industries have announced plans to be carbon neutral such as Dell, Cisco, Google etc. Academia and government are also moving in this direction with voluntary and, in some cases, mandatory carbon neutrality targets.

We all believe that optical networks, clouds, virtualization, grids, SOA, broadband etc can play a critical role in achieving our respective carbon neutrality objectives. But in order to use ICT technologies to achieve carbon neutrality an institution must demonstrate that the actual carbon savings are real, verifiable and auditable. Vendor’s claims of increased energy efficiency, or reduced travel, are meaningless and worthless without ISO 14064 compliance.

Compliance with ISO 14064 is necessary to demonstrate genuine carbon reduction and it may also lead to the possibility of earning carbon offset dollars from various trusts like the Pacific Carbon Trust and ultimately maybe even real dollars from large carbon exchanges in Chicago, Montreal etc.

What we desperately need from equipment vendors and telecommunication supplier is actual examples or implementation of how an ICT product or service reduced GHG emissions through the rigorous process of ISO 14064 certification. As pressure for carbon neutrality mounts, vendors and suppliers who can demonstrate solutions with ISO 14064 are the only ones who will win new business.

A good example is the recent Google-GE announcement, for Google to earn carbon offsets in its goal to achieve carbon neutrality. Climate-check ( and Green House Gas Services ( ) developed the ISO 14064 protocol for this project. – BSA]

The new Industrial Imperative - building a zero carbon economy

[As many long suffering reader of this list well know, I have long argued that moving to a zero carbon economy is one of the great fundamental opportunities of a generation for innovation and economic growth. Reducing our carbon footprint is not all about sacrifice and lowering our standard of living, but much more about new business opportunities, wealth creation and an entire new economic models. That is why I am not a big fan of carbon taxes. Taxes of any kind are an inefficient way of implementing public policy. They will hurt our consumers and reduce our competitiveness against nations who do not implement similar policies. We need to move a zero carbon economy as quickly as possible. That is where the real opportunities lie. Here is some relevant pointers on the topic. Thanks to Kevin Moss and Frank Coluccio on Gordon Cooks list for these pointers --BSA]

....historians call “basic innovation”: fundamental changes in technology and organization that create new industries, transform existing ones, and, over time, reshape societies. Basic innovations — including electrification, the automobile, commercial air travel, digital computing, and, most recently, the Internet — involve not just a single new technology but a collection of new inventions, practices, distribution networks, businesses and business models, and shifts in personal and organizational thinking that combine to transform the way business is conducted, technology is deployed, and people are engaged.
Over the past few years, as the implications of global climate change have become clearer, a new wave of basic innovation has begun. Much of it is occurring in household-name companies.
Learning to live outside the industrial age bubble — will require basic innovations of a scale and speed never seen before.
As in the original Industrial Revolution, business must play a critical role: Businesspeople can apply their skills in management, entrepreneurship, and economic acumen to galvanize a collective shift.

ICTs, Innovation and the Challenge of Climate Change

Kevin Moss's excellent blog

Building a winner in a low carbon economy

SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age

Dell Claims Carbon Neutrality 5 months ahead of schedule

Big business shows politicians how the planet can be saved

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

carbon footprint tool is an Android winner

Thanks to Richard Ackerman for this pointer

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The dirty secret of renewable energy - transmission line capacity

[The Internet and ICT industries have a big advantage over other sectors of society in terms of using renewable energy. There is no reason why computers, databases, cyber-infrastructure needs to be located in cities where it is difficult to access renewable power. Instead of bringing power to the computers, why not move the computers to the source of power and connect them with optical networks? Optical networks are a lot cheaper to deploy than electrical transmission lines and far less disruptive to the environment. Besides building out the necessary transmission line capacity to support the various renewable energy sites will take decades. The other big advantage of relocating ICT to renewable energy sites is the low cost and long term certainty of the price of power at these sites and independence from electrical grid operators and their usurious “wheeling” charges. The electrical utility industry makes the telephone companies look like paragons of entrepreneurialism in comparison. The Internet and ICT industry is also virtually the only industry sector that can tolerate unreliable and intermittent energy that is common with many renewable sources. From its very initial design, the Internet has in place the routing protocols to allow quick re-routing of traffic and data in the event of network outages, whether its from an apocryphal nuclear war or intermittent renewable energy. If the Internet and ICT consume anywhere from 2-6% of the nation’s energy relocating this industry to renewable energy sites will go a long way to achieving energy independent. Excerpts from NY Time – BSA]

Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits

When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

The grid today, according to experts, is a system conceived 100 years ago to let utilities prop each other up, reducing blackouts and sharing power in small regions. It resembles a network of streets, avenues and country roads.

Achieving that would require moving large amounts of power over long distances, from the windy, lightly populated plains in the middle of the country to the coasts where many people live. Builders are also contemplating immense solar-power stations in the nation’s deserts that would pose the same transmission problems.

“The windiest sites have not been built, because there is no way to move that electricity from there to the load centers,” he said.

California - Canada summit on Green IT and Next Generation Internet

“The Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP) Initiative is an informal process of collaboration and exchange between the two jurisdictions involving academic, private sector, financial and public sector organizations. It champions the development of new models of cooperation and specific projects in innovation-intensive areas that are priorities in both jurisdictions.

Canada and California have very strong relationships, including $36.9 billion in bilateral trade, and share many complementary strengths. They also share common concerns in areas like public health, energy and transportation. Canada is a leading country in higher-education Research and Development (R&D) intensity, and California represents one of the most dynamic innovation systems on the planet. To sustain Canada’s and California’s position as global leaders in this era of Research, Development and Delivery (RD&D), stakeholders in both jurisdictions have decided to establish the CCSIP Initiative.”
Of particular interest is the upcoming California-Canada summit in Montreal of which one of the themes will be Green IT and Next Generation Internet. California and Canada recognize that research and technology development into the future Internet and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) will play a critical role in addressing the greatest challenge facing the planet, namely global climate change. More importantly it plays to our respective strengths in ICT, cyber-infrastructure entertainment and renewable energy and will hopefully will lay the foundation for the future zero carbon economy. It is recognized that businesses and research institutions that are first to adopt a zero carbon strategy will be the global winners of this century.

Examples of such a strategy are research initiatives like GreenLight, Optiputer and CineGrid in California and PROMPT’s Next Generation Internet to Reduce Global Warming (G-NGI) in Canada. On the Industry side a good example of collaboration in Green IT is the partnership between SUN and Mitel to develop low carbon footprint unified IP client called Sunray which won the Best of Interop Award in 2008. Products like the Mitel-SUN Sunray will be critical for businesses and universities to meet the very stringent carbon reduction targets of our respective jurisdictions.

The California-Canada summit on Green IT and Next Generation Internet is an invitation only event. But if you are a researcher or company that interested in California-Canada collaboration in the area of Green IT you may want to contact one of the people listed below. A preliminary planning meeting is being arranged in Palo Alto at HP headquarters on September 19th.

California Canada Strategic Innovation Partnership

California - Canada summit on Green IT and Next Generation Internet

More information on GreenLight and G-NGI

Mitel and Sun Sunray

Individuals to Contact for possible participation in the Summit

Lisa Stockley:
Thiery Weissenburger:
Dominic Jean

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free green power for Canadian government IT

Free green power for Canadian government IT

By: Rosie Lombardi, 22, 2008 09:00:00)
Many provincial governments are setting the wheels in motion to move their IT processing to greener IT data centres that are powered by renewable hydro-electricity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New low Carbon Notebooks to connect to the Internet

[Here is a good article on how I think the PC industry will evolve in order for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint -- BSA]
The personal computer industry is poised to sell tens of
millions of small, energy-efficient Internet-centric devices.
The new computers, often called netbooks, have scant onboard memory. They
use energy-sipping computer chips. They are intended largely for surfing Web
sites and checking e-mail. The price is small too, with some selling for as
little as $300.
The companies that pioneered the category were small too, like Asus and
Everex, both of Taiwan.
Several makers are taking the low-powered PCs one step further. In the
coming months, they are expected to introduce "net-tops," low-cost versions
of desktop computers intended for Internet access.
A Silicon Valley start-up called CherryPal says it will challenge the idea
that big onboard power is required to allow basic computing functions in the
Internet age. On Monday it plans to introduce a $240 desktop PC that is the
size of a paperback and uses two watts of power compared with the 100 watts
of some desktops.
It wants to take advantage of the trend toward "cloud computing," in which
data is managed and stored in distant servers, not on the actual machine.
Industry analysts say that the emergence of this new class of low-cost,
cloud-centric machines could threaten titans like Microsoft and Intel, or
even H.P. and Dell, because the giants have built their companies on the
notion that consumers want more power and functions built into their next

It is a market that caught the major computer companies - both hardware and
software - by surprise after Asus, entered the market last year with the
$300 Eee PC. The company thought the device would essentially appeal to the
education market, or as a starter laptop for adolescents, but the interest
has turned out to be broader.
With an emphasis not in on-board applications (like word processing), but
Internet-based ones like Google Docs, the Linux-based Eee PC sold out its
350,000 global inventory. It has been in short supply ever since, said
Jackie Hsu, president of the American division of Asus. Everex has sold
around 20,000 of its CloudBook, which sells for about $350.

The impact of Climate Change on Academic Research

The impact of Climate Change on Academic Research

Cyber-Infrastructure is part of the problem, but it is also part of the

NSF GreenLight at CAL-IT2 and PROMPT G-NGI initiatives to reduce Greenhouse
Gas (GHG) impact of academic research.

To date most academic researchers have not been particularly concerned about
the impact of climate change on their academic research. To many
researchers climate change only affects big polluters such as coal plants
and owners of SUVs. Surprisingly few members of the research community
appreciate the dramatic changes that will be required in the next couple of
years, if we hope to slow down the rate of temperature increase in the next
decade (never mind trying to stop or reverse climate change as result of GHG
emission). Every aspect of our lives will be fundamentally altered as
society starts to recognize the severity of the problem, including, and
especially in the way we carry out academic research.

Governments around the world are already starting to impose carbon
neutrality on public sector institutions such as universities, schools and
hospitals. This strategy is becoming increasing popular with governments as
the public sector is a large part of the economy and therefore a major
contributor to GHG emissions. More importantly it avoids the anguish and
controversy of imposing carbon taxes on the voting public.

University researchers and funding agencies had better be prepared for these
developments. The concept of mandated carbon neutrality will spread like
wildfire once governments around the world discover its many benefits.

Fortunately the academic research community already has many the tools at
hand, not only to be carbon neutral, but perhaps even achieve zero carbon
sustainability. It is becoming evident that one of the most important
scientific tools for research exploration at our universities is
cyber-infrastructure. Through the use of networks, grids, virtualization and
remote instrumentation and laboratories it is the one research tool that can
help reduce GHG emissions at our campus.

But currently cyber-infrastructure located "on campus" is part of the
problem. At many of our universities it is increasingly a major source of
GHG in its own right through the power it consumes. The beauty and power of
cyber-infrastructure is it removes the restriction that physical facilities
need to be located on campus. With high speed optical networks these same
facilities can be located at zero carbon data centers anywhere in the
country that have easy access to renewable energy. Relocating
cyber-infrastructure to renewable energy sites will be much cheaper than
trying to purchase renewable power locally on campuses in our cities, as the
university will be competing with businesses for that same power.

Two important initiatives are now underway which will help academic
researchers address the challenge of reducing their carbon footprint through
the use of cyber-infrastructure. The first is the PROMPT program for Next
Generation Internet to Reduce Global Warming. This is an international
partnership being led by PROMPT in Montreal with partners from the world
including Australia, The Netherlands, United States, China etc. It is a
research and commercialization initiative to help carry out research and
commercialize the next generation Internet technologies being developed at
our universities such as wireless devices, sensors, instruments and networks
through the use of virtualization and SOA, etc. The initiative is unique in
that rather than negotiating traditional licenses and royalties, payments
for companies who adopt the technology will be made through the purchase of
carbon credits. PROMPT will also work with universities in helping them
develop research practices and procedures in order to reduce their carbon
footprint. PROMPT proposes to develop a set of testbeds in Canada and with
its international partners to develop the necessary protocols to test verify
and audit the actual carbon credits in compliance with ISO 14064 that will
be possible through the application of next generation Internet

The second important initiative which is also important to the PROMPT
program is to actually measure the energy savings and CO2 reductions of
cyber-infrastructure equipment. To this end the NSF has awarded a research
team at CAL-IT2 funding for a project called GreenLight. This project,
measures, monitors, and optimizes the energy consumption of large-scale
scientific applications from many different areas. The work enables
inter-disciplinary researchers to understand how to make "green" (i.e.,
energy efficient) decision for IT computation and storage, thus helping to
re-define fundamentals of systems engineering for a transformative concept,
that of green CyberInfrastructure .

Academic research is about to go through a major revolution in the way and
how it is carried out. Cyber-infrastructure will play a critical role.
Researchers and institutions that are the first to adopt to these new way of
doing research will be the big winners in the future. --BSA]

For additional information:

The Impact of Climate Change on Academic Research



This project, developing an instrument called GreenLight, measures,
monitors, and optimizes the energy consumption of large-scale scientific
applications from many different areas. The work enables inter-disciplinary
researchers to understand how to make ?green? (i.e., energy efficient)
decision for IT computation and storage. Consequently, an experienced team
might be able to make deep and quantitative explorations in advanced
architecture, including alternative circuit fabrics such as Field
Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), direct-graph execution machines, graphics
processors, solid-state disks, and photonic networking. The enabled
computing and systems research will yield new quantitative data to support
engineering judgments on comparative ?computational work per watt? across
full-scale applications running at-scale computing platforms, thus helping
to re-define fundamentals of systems engineering for a transformative
concept, that of green CyberInfrastructure (CI). Keeping in mind that the IT
industry consumes as much energy (same carbon footprint) as the airline
industry, this project enables five communities of application scientists,
drawn from metagenomics, ocean observing, microscopy, bioinformatics, and
the digital media, to understand how to measure and then minimize energy
consumption, to make use of novel energy/cooling sources, and employ
middleware that automates optimal choice of compute/power strategies. The
research issues addressed include studying the dynamic migration of
applications to virtual machines for power consumption reduction, studying
the migrations of virtual machines to physical machines to achieve network
locality, developing new power/thermal management policies (closed loop,
using feedback from sensors), classifying scientific algorithms in the
context of co-processing hardware such as GPUs and FPGAs, and developing
algorithms for resource sharing/scheduling in heterogeneous platforms. The
full-scale virtualized device, the GreenLight Instrument, will be developed
to measure, monitor, and make publicly available (via service oriented
architecture methodology), real-time sensor outputs, empowering researchers
anywhere to study the energy cost of at-scale scientific computing. Hence,
this work empowers domain application researchers to continue to exploit
exponential improvements in silicon technology, and to compete globally.
Although the IT industry has begun to develop strategies for ?greening?
traditional data centers, the physical reality of modern campus CI currently
involves a complex network of ad hoc and suboptimal energy environments in
departmental facilities. The number of these facilities increases extremely
fast creating campus-wide crisis of space, power, and cooling due to the
value of computational and data intensive approaches to research. This
project addresses these important issues offering the possibility to
improve. Broader Impacts: The project enables researchers to carry-out
quantitative explorations into energy efficient CyberInfrastructure (CI) and
to train the next generation of energy-aware scientists. It enlists graduate
students from five disciplinary projects, involves minority serving
institutions, and is likely to have direct impact on commercial components
of the nation?s CI.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Canada primed for Green Cloud computing

[Some excerpts from Compute Canada article- BSA]

Canada primed for cloud computing: Gartner

A Gartner analyst thinks Canada's natural resources and cooler temperature can help it take advantage of the growing cloud computing trend to provide services and Web applications.
He thinks the country's years of investment in hydro electric power facilities and ambient temperatures will enable data centres to be powered and subsequently cooled. And, he said, the concerns around power and cooling are only getting bigger as Web content grows with video sharing sites like YouTube. Therefore, the country can take its hydro electric infrastructure
to "another level" and extend it to the Web, said Hewitt.

Also facilitating green data center growth is the emergence of server technology like blades and mobile data centres in shipping containers, he noted.

The opportunity, said Hewitt, lies in the federal and provincial governments encouraging Canadian businesses to build data centres in areas where hydro electric power abounds and facilities can be cooled naturally with ambient air.

There's an economic advantage to this. Often, people tend to look to places like Iceland to build data centres that can grant adequate power and cooling, said Hewitt, but distance is a hurdle when undersea fiber cables need to be built. Canada can target the U.S., given its close proximity, as a "potentially large customer," said Hewitt.

Such partnerships with U.S.-based companies, he said, can help grow Canada's infrastructure, job market, and ultimately, its knowledge base around cloud-based computing infrastructure.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. has been growing its Web-based services primarily through search and content, but Hewitt believes there is the potential for other applications and services on the cloud. And what is more, the server market is going to grow regardless.

Hewitt doesn't anticipate fuelling data centees with natural resources will be a difficult concept for businesses to grasp. The country's investment in building out hydro electric facilities has been well received, and "I see that as a really good sign."

"Those kinds of initiatives take time and effort," said Hewitt, referring to initiatives in Brazil to build a fuel-independent infrastructure that today doesn't require the import of fossil fuels.

Governments, he said, can play a role and really drive such initiatives. "In the long run, [Canada] can build out a significant set of advantages in providing these services and offering a base for this kind of activity."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Internet & ICT may play a bigger role in reducing CO2 than carbon taxes

[One of the greatest challenges facing the planet is global warming.
Governments around the world are wrestling with various strategies on how
to reduce our collective carbon footprint. Carbon taxes are seen as the
best solution, but are meeting with stiff political resistance
particularly with the recent dramatic increases in gasoline prices. Cap
and trade systems are the other preferred approach, but also have
significant uncertainties in terms of their actual ability to reduce CO2

However, over the past couple of months a couple of new studies indicate
that the Internet and ICT can possibly have a bigger impact in reducing
CO2 than either carbon taxes and cap and trade systems. There is no
question that the Internet and ICT will play an important role in reducing
CO2 emissions, but the surprising development is the degree to which the
Internet and ICT might contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The first indication of the new found importance of the Internet and ICT
in reducing CO2 emissions was an economic modeling study done by Dr Yuji
INOUE, President & CEO The Japanese Telecommunication Technology
Committee, the results of which he presented at the ITU Summit on Green IT
in Kyoto this past April.

Dr Inoue demonstrated that it is possible for Japan to reach 90% of its
Kyoto targets strictly through the application of ICT. As with all
economic forecasting models there are lot of untested and unproven
assumptions, and this study is no different. But even if the application
of Dr Inoue’s models only result in 50% or even 25% of the Kyoto targets,
this is still a very, very significant development, and means that ICT
will still have the biggest impact in reducing CO2 emissions compared to
any other conventional approach such as carbon taxes and cap and trade.

The other study that indicates the significance of Internet and ICT was
just published by the Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability
Initiative (GeSI)and states that "The Smarter technology use could reduce
global emissions by 15 per cent and save global industry $US 800 billion
in annual energy costs by 2020.

The report – SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the
information age – is the world’s first comprehensive global study of the
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector’s growing
significance for the world’s climate.

The report’s supporting analysis, conducted independently by international
management consultants McKinsey & Company, shows that while ICT’s own
sector footprint - currently two per cent of global emissions - will
almost double by 2020, ICT’s unique ability to monitor and maximise energy
efficiency both within and outside of its own sector could cut CO2
emissions by
up to five times this amount. This represents a saving of 7.8 Giga-tonnes
of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020 –greater than the current
annual emissions of either the US or China.

Although tele-working, video-conferencing, e-paper, and e-commerce are
increasingly commonplace, the report notes that replacing physical
products and services with their virtual equivalents (dematerialisation
and substitution) is only one part (six per cent) of the estimated low
carbon benefits the ICT sector can deliver."

One of the biggest contribution to reducing CO2 emissions by Internet and
ICT is through “virtualization” or “de-materialization” of existing
physical products and services. For business and universities this means
first virtualizing all their existing computers, databases and laboratory
equipment and using grids, clouds or “virtual” instances of the same
equipment at zero carbon data centers located at distant renewable energy
sites. It also means adapting new business process and procedures that
eliminate as much as possible the manufacturing and shipping of goods as
well as employee or researcher travel.

For consumers, this means delivery of movies, music, books and other
products as electronic equivalents delivered over broadband networks. The
elimination of power hungry PCs and printers to be replaced by solar
powered PDAs or similar devices is also essential. It also means the
development of new incentive and reward programs using electronic products
and service to reward consumers to reduce their carbon footprint in other
aspects of their daily life from driving the car to heating or cooling
their home.

If we adopt these techniques now it might be possible to achieve 50-90% of
the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is required by 2020 to keep
the global temperature increase under 2C. For more details and other
detailed estimates please see my blog at

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reducing CO2 - a new "for profit" service for telcos

[Many telcos have undertaken initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint, both as a cost saving measure, and also to show themselves as being good corporate citizens. But some telcos are starting to realize that these measures to reduce their own carbon footprint can also be an attractive business offering for their corporate customers. Large corporations face the same challenges as telcos with the high cost of power and the insatiable demand from IT for additional energy to power their ever growing number of servers. Governments are also starting to mandate public sector organizations to become carbon neutral, and soon may mandate private companies to be carbon neutral as well which is being further spurred on with the advent of carbon taxes.

Telcos are well suited to deploy zero carbon data centers in remote locations with plenty of cheap renewable power connected by high speed optical networks. BT is a good example where they plan to build COs powered by on-site windmills. These sites will not only serve BT's needs, but are also ideal for hosting customer's IT equipment as well. More importantly the telco and customer can earn valuable carbon offset dollars which can defray most of the expensive of locating servers at these sites. Some telcos are also following the lead of companies like IBM and Fujitsu and arranging for the brokering of carbon offset dollars for their customers who relocate IT equipment to their zero carbon data centers.

Using local generated renewable power is lot a cheaper than "wheeling" green power from the utilities. It also guarantees the telco and their customers a long term supply of cheap power with no threat of disruption or cost increases by the local utility.

Reduced carbon emissions is also a service that can offered to broadband residential customers, and is way of providing guaranteed revenue for the telco to pay for the fiber infrastructure that is necessary to support zero carbon applications. The telco is no longer dependent on the fickle revenues of triple play or the competitive threat of the "over top" players such as Google etc. Please see for details. Some excerpts from Converge Digest and Economist--BSA]

BT Plans 80% CO2 Reduction by 2020
BT announced a goal to cut its carbon emissions intensity by 80 percent across the globe by 2020 , setting one of the most aggressive corporate carbon reduction targets worldwide.

The company also published a new model for measuring and tracking carbon emissions – backed by the Carbon Disclosure Project. This represents an important step in measuring carbon emissions in a consistent way across the globe.

BT said it intends to meet the 80 percent reduction target through a continued combination of energy efficiency, on-site renewable generation (aiming for 25 per cent of its UK electricity to come from dedicated wind turbines by 2016) and purchased low-carbon electricity.

BT estimated that it has already reduced emissions in the UK by nearly 60 percent between 1996 and 2008.

The majority of worldwide CO2 emissions result from activities in the corporate sector, but up until now it has not been clear what targets an individual corporation needs to achieve to make its contribution to the international challenge. 02-Jun-08

In October 2007, BT announced plans to develop wind farms aimed at generating up to 25% of its existing UK electricity requirements by 2016. The company expects to invest up to £250m in the project.

BT is one of Britain's biggest consumers of electricity, with an annual requirement of around 0.7% of the UK's entire consumption. The company said its wind farms could generate a total of 250MW of electricity – enough to meet the power needs of 122,000 homes or a city the size of Coventry.

BT is currently identifying high wind-yield sites on or adjacent to BT-owned land for development with the aim of generating power from 2012 onwards.

Down on the server farm

The real-world implications of the rise of internet computing

As computing becomes a utility, with services that can be consumed from everywhere and on any device, ever more thought is being put into where to put the infrastructure it needs.

Data centres are essential to nearly every industry and have become as vital to the functioning of society as power stations are. Lately, centres have been springing up in unexpected places: in old missile bunkers, in former shopping malls—even in Iceland. America alone has more than 7,000 data centres, according to IDC, a market-research firm. And each is housing ever more servers, the powerful computers that crunch and dish up data. In America the number of servers is expected to grow to 15.8m by 2010—three times as many as a decade earlier.

Companies have been packing ever more machines into data centres, both to increase their computing capacity and to comply with new data-retention rules.

As servers become more numerous, powerful and densely packed, more energy is needed to keep the data centres at room temperature. Often just as much power is needed for cooling as for computing. The largest data centres now rival aluminium smelters in the energy they consume. Microsoft's $500m new facility near Chicago, for instance, will need three electrical substations with a total capacity of 198 megawatts. As a result, finding a site for a large data centre is now, above all, about securing a cheap and reliable source of power, says Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge, a website that chronicles the boom in data-centre construction.

And with demand for computing picking up in other parts of the world, the boom in data-centre construction is spreading to unexpected places. Microsoft is looking for a site in Siberia where its data can chill. Iceland has begun to market itself as a prime location for data centres, again for the cool climate, but also because of its abundant geothermal energy. Hitachi Data Systems and Data Islandia, a local company, are planning to build a huge data-storage facility. It will be underground, for security and to protect the natural landscape.

Yet it will not just be market economics that determines the shape of the clouds. Local governments give tax breaks in the hope that the presence of big data centres will attract other businesses (the computing plants themselves usually employ only a few dozen people

In future the geography of the cloud is likely to get even more complex. “Virtualisation” technology already allows the software running on individual servers to be moved from one data centre to another, mainly for back-up reasons. One day soon, these “virtual machines” may migrate to wherever computing power is cheapest, or energy is greenest. Then computing will have become a true utility—and it will no longer be apt to talk of computing clouds, so much as of a computing atmosphere.

Blog Archive