Green Internet and Cyber-infrastructure Overview
Governments around the world are wrestling with the challenge of how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The current preferred approaches are to impose carbon taxes and implement various forms of cap and trade. However another approach to help reduce carbon emission is to “reward” those directly who reduce their carbon footprint and complement their existing lifestyle. One possible reward system is to provide homeowners with free fiber to the home or free wireless products and other electronic services such as ebooks and eMovies if they deploy micro renewable energy sources for their ICT equipment and use eVehicles for energy transportation. Not only does the consumer benefit, but this business model also provides new revenue opportunities for small businesses, network operators, and eCommerce application providers.
Linking renewable energy with the Internet using 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. For more details please see:
How North American suburban sprawl could be the answer to global warning: http://goo.gl/UDz37
Free High Speed Internet to the Home: http://goo.gl/wGjVG
High level architecture of Building Zero Carbon Networks: http://goo.gl/juWdH
Friday, November 28, 2008
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 www.ee.unimelb.edu.au/green_internet/
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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 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 behindthegreen.org.
Amber Allmans, 202-297-4407
Thursday, November 13, 2008
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 http://green-broadband.blogspot.com
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.
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