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Computing Power Goes Green

Project in brief

Digital transformation of the public and private sectors has become a European priority to increase the European competitiveness. At national level, it is thus a priority to create digital transformation plans and roadmaps and to fund initiatives for the digitalization of the enterprises. During this journey, it is important to focus on green digitalization and on the creation of digital infrastructures that are environmentally sustainable.

However, until recently, the center of focus when assessing the environmental footprint of an enterprise has been the energy efficiency of its buildings and vehicles.  As far as the digital transformation plan of an enterprise is concerned, there is no assessment framework and relevant indicators that would allow to measure such initiatives and plans from the perspective of their environmental/energy footprint.

Consider for example an enterprise that develops computer algorithms. Such an enterprise can be in possession of an eco-label if its buildings are energy efficient, it uses only electrical vehicles, it promotes recycling etc.   This would apply, even if the same enterprise is using huge amounts of energy to conduct its digital processing within big data centers.

In line with the European framework for a' twin transition', it is important to take actions that support a sustainable digital transformation, both in terms of climate neutrality and Europe’s digital sovereignty.  In order to reach its climate and economic goals, the digital sector must contribute its share and embrace sustainability in all its facets: circular economy models for hardware, climate-neutral CPU models and server centers, software advancements to reduce energy consumption, and many more. Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G, IoT, cloud and edge computing also have the capacity to accelerate and maximize the effects of environmental policies.  However, in practice, investments are focused on measures that contribute to either the green or the digital transition. In other words, EU funding is usually directed on energy efficiency and   climate or in digital transformation without focusing on the synergies between both.

The new approach that this project adopts refers to the monitoring, assessment, and promotion of twin investments. The digital transformation is not promoted in isolation but is seen under the lens of green development. The assessment framework and monitoring mechanisms to be developed promote the greening of digital investments in the Program area. This will be achieved through a joint assessment framework that will allow:

  • to promote combined green digital technologies at national as well as transnational level
  • to lead to a ‘greener’ functioning of digital infrastructures and data centers
  • to further enforce twin transitions with the creation of a green digitalization certification scheme for the public and private sector

Duration

October 2021- September 2023

Budget

€ 4.496.762,14

Project website 

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