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IESR: The Importance of Reliable and Green Energy for the Operations of Indonesia’s Data Center

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Currently, Indonesia is one of the countries with high economic growth in the Southeast Asia region. This economic growth has also been accompanied by the growth of massive internet users, with around 65% of Indonesia’s population being active internet users. The growth of internet users demands the availability of reliable data centers in Indonesia.

One of the characteristics of the data center is 24 hours of operation, and the energy required is relatively large. Globally, energy use for data centers is 200 Terawatt Hour, so there need to be anticipative steps to get around this large amount of energy demand. Looking at the global trend towards being carbon neutral, it is believed that using renewable energy to meet energy demands in data centers is the right thing to do.

Fabby Tumiwa, executive director of the Institute of Essential Services Reform (IESR) in the Sustainability in Digital Age Webinar, explained that there will be at least two direct benefits when using renewable energy as a power supply in the data center.

(1) Increased energy efficiency

The need for energy supply for 24 hours non-stop makes the data center must look for reliable resources to ensure its prime performance. Seeing the trend of renewable energy becoming more affordable, developing renewable energy is not only a reliable and clean power supply but also financial efficiency in the long term.

(2) Increasing Use of Renewable Energy

In the national scope, currently, Indonesia still has to comply with the Paris Agreement target of achieving 23% of renewable energy. Currently, Indonesia is only at around 11.5%. According to IESR calculations, a mix of 23% will only be achieved if 70% of the electricity generation is from renewable energy. By encouraging industrial sectors such as data centers to use renewable energy it will contribute to the fulfillment of the energy mix target.

In addition, the use of renewable energy on-site will be very relevant for the company’s pursuit of becoming RE100. That big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, or Amazon have joined the RE100 alliance which means they are committed to go zero carbon in a few years.

Fabby said that in order to support the acceleration of renewable energy, especially for rooftop PV, it is necessary to have policy reforms such as improving net-metering rates, revising procedures for changing rooftop PV, as well as disseminated comprehensive information.

“Any changes in terms of regulations and policies will be a positive signal for investors,” he said.

I Made Aditya Suryawidya, Head of Business Solution for SUN Energy, added that the use of renewable energy in the data center will have a positive impact in 3 sectors, i.e: business, costs, and the environment.

From a business perspective, using renewable energy, data center companies will gain relatively fixed rates for the long term, thus helping companies to predict operational costs that must be incurred. Meanwhile, from cost savings, renewable energy will be subject to electricity costs of up to 30%. No less important from an environmental perspective, renewable energy will be able to track the company’s carbon footprint, support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and government programs to increase the use of renewable energy and as a bonus, companies will get a spotlight related to clean energy.

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