This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 27, 2002

California Supports Research on Efficient Server Farms

The California Energy Commission (CEC) announced early this month its award of $500,000 to DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) for research into energy-efficient Internet server farms. Internet servers are the workhorses of the Internet, "serving up" the files that make up Web pages. Server farms, also called server hotels or data centers, are facilities that house a large number of these servers. Many server farms are located in California, and although their energy consumption is often overstated, they still represent a significant electrical load. In fact, about 17 percent of the nation's server farms are located in the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley areas, drawing about 80 megawatts of electrical power. Although the initial LBNL work will focus on data collection, the researchers intend to eventually develop a computer industry "roadmap" that will lead to more efficient server farms in the future. See the CEC press release.

Readers may recall a recent report on server farms produced by Platts, a provider of energy market information and market services. The press release for that report was headlined, "Utilities struggling to provide electricity to power- hungry data centers, according to Platts" - a conclusion that was questioned in this newsletter. Platts has since decided that the original press release was not representative of the true content of its report. To address that problem, the company has issued a second press release, headlined "Data center power 'catastrophe' never materialized; utilities prepare for next wave of development, according to Platts study." The new press release cites a server farm in Austin, Texas, that was expected to require 100 megawatts, but ended up drawing only 6 megawatts of power. See the new press release.

See also the original story, published in the January 23rd edition of the EREN Network News.