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:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How R&E networks can help universities save millions of dollars and reduce CO2

[While I was at CANARIE we had commissioned 3 independent studies to look at how building remote and/or efficient data centers could save universities money through energy savings and the use of carbon offsets.
The first study was undertaken by International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and looked at the energy savings and carbon offset earning of relocating data centers from 3 universities to remote locations to be powered solely by renewable energy. It should be noted that the major universities in Boston are already undertaking such an initiative by relocating their computer and data centers to an old mill town which has its own power dam 90 miles west of Boston in Holyoke MA. Studies are underway in the UK and Nordic countries exploring similar arrangements.

I agree with the IISD authors that given the current price of Co2 offsets, the business case for funding relocation of data centers solely through carbon offsets is not feasible. However if you take into account energy savings and/or moving the data center to a cloud the economics work out much better. Another one of the other studies funded by CANARIE which is about to be published , undertaken by McGill University and San Diego Super Computer Center (SDSC), looked at the energy carbon savings of moving SDSC to a site that was powered by renewable energy. Preliminary analysis indicates that SDSC could save $5M/year and ClimateCHECK estimates 35,000 tons of CO_2 reduction per year.

But I think the IISD authors have it right that moving to a “green” cloud makes the most sense, especially integrating commercial cloud services with university data center and HPC facilities as is being proposed in the US eXtreme Data XD program. Commercial cloud companies have the financial resources and capabilities to convert carbon offsets to cash or offer compute cycles in exchange for the offsets. This is likely to be a better approach as the commercial market for offsets is virtually non-existent with the closure of Chicago Carbon Exchange, etc. For example a major cloud service provider and data center, Rackforce ( which operates a zero carbon data center in Kelowna British Columbia is working with University of Calgary under the Greestar program to develop the ISO 14064 standards to measure the carbon offsets of relocating a production Geospatial research project ( in partnership with the Canadian Standards Association (
University Data Centres: Policy and business case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

In this study, IISD assesses the feasibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating carbon offsets via the relocation or modification of University Information and Communication Technology (ICT) assets, leveraging Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network’s (CANARIE’s) fibre optic network that connects universities across Canada. Working with three universities, IISD prepared carbon footprint analyses and explored the business case for relocation that access to carbon credits might support. Several options are presented, including a proposal to co-locate or consolidate multiple data centres, allowing them to be optimized and operated more efficiently and effectively through virtualization, best practices and economies of scale, ideally in a green community cloud configuration.
In particular, the study investigated three scenarios: (1) moving University data centres to remote, zero-carbon (i.e., powered with renewable energy) facilities; (2) relocating the data centres to urban settings in provinces with low-emission electrical grids and where waste heat from the data centre can be utilized effectively; and (3) modifying the existing data centre to capture and utilize waste heat. Upon analyzing these scenarios, it was determined that only the third, in one case, would generate sufficient revenue from the sale of carbon credits to overcome the expense of the project.
Following the principles of ISO 14064-1 to the extent possible, the carbon footprint for the main data centres at each University was completed. To limit the complexity of this study, only the main ICT data centres designed and operated to host each University’s mission-critical systems were evaluated. The annual carbon footprint ensuing from the operation of all three data centres combined was 11,305 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)—Ottawa, 1,007; Dalhousie, 5,010; and Alberta, 5,288.
Based on the carbon footprint analysis, the revenue from the sale of carbon credits (or offsets) and the incremental costs associated with the implementation of each scenario were estimated for each University and a net present value (NPV) calculated. The NPV was not positive for any of the Universities under the first or second scenarios; only the analysis for the University of Alberta resulted in a positive NPV in the third scenario.
Ultimately, the investigation found that although the economics for generating revenue via carbon credits from data centres was generally not attractive for the individual Universities studied, a green community cloud data centre operated and administered by CANARIE has numerous other benefits and is more likely to be economically beneficial, presenting a perhaps ideal opportunity for CANARIE to leverage its position and provide leadership to its membership and the Canadian ICT sector in general.
Policy implications and opportunities are presented for federal and provincial governments, universities, data centres and CANARIE.

Boston universities and zero carbon data center at Holyoke

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