All of Volkswagen’s data center operations are to be net carbon-neutral by 2027, according to the OEM – three years earlier than stated in the European Green Deal, under which European data hub operators agreed to make their resources climate-neutral by 2030. As part of this plan, VW has moved more of its computing operations to Green Mountain, a CO₂-neutral data facility in Norway. As a result, one quarter of Volkswagen’s global data center operations now run carbon-neutrally, corresponding to annual CO₂ savings of 10,000 tons.
VW first moved some of its data capacity to Green Mountain’s RJU1-Rjukan site in Telemark, Norway, in June 2019. The idea was to outsource non time-critical, high-performance computing projects such as crash test simulations to free up capacity in the Volkswagen Group’s data facilities at its headquarters, which were needed for critical business applications. The car maker has six data hubs worldwide: three in Wolfsburg, two in Norway and one in Singapore.
Tor Kristian Gyland, CEO of Green Mountain, said, “We appreciate the renewed trust Volkswagen has placed in us and are pleased to support them on their journey towards full carbon-neutrality. Together we share the same vision of a more sustainable future.”
For the new site at SVG1-Rennesøy, Green Mountain converted a former high-security NATO ammunition storage facility into a 22,600m² high-security mountain hall colocation data center. Its infrastructure has been designed to be expanded up to 2 x 26MW, with Volkswagen using 3MW of capacity. For the cooling, which accounts for 40% to 80% of the electricity required to power the servers in traditional data facilities, SVG1-Rennesøy takes advantage of the adjacent deep-water fjord reaching 100m [in depth]with a constant water temperature of 8°C all year round.
“Green IT is a key topic on our ESG agenda. While technology is the key driver for more efficiency, an improved customer experience and new business models, IT accounts for about 3% of global CO₂ emissions,” explained Hauke Stars, member of the board of management, IT and digitalization.
“Given the rising demand for computing power and data storage to enable Volkswagen Group’s New Auto strategy, a sustainable IT roadmap with ambitious goals is paramount to systematically reduce our carbon footprint. With data centers being the biggest contributor of carbon emissions in IT, expanding our computing capacity at Green Mountain is a strong lever to make our data center operations carbon-neutral by 2027.”
More on how companies are reducing the environmental footprint of their data centers in the September issue of ATTI.