A taxing thought about datacentres…

Should the government – in this case Scotland where DataVita is based, but this could easily apply to the wider UK and beyond – tax datacentres according to how energy efficient they are?

Well, what do you think?  I started to give this idea some thought whilst putting together a rather “tongue in cheek” presentation for last year’s Scot-Cloud show in Edinburgh.

History is littered with taxation policies implemented by governments in an attempt to align taxes to deal with specific problems.  Here are a few examples:

In most cases, these have not been well received, but in all cases they were trying to address a specific problem.  So what problem do we have with datacentres?

According to a variety of articles I have read recently, datacentres are consuming around 3% – 4% of the global energy supply.  Doesn’t sound like much does it?

Well it is and it is only going to grow.  As a result datacentres have two problems:

  1. The amount of energy they use
  2. The type of energy they use

The second one can be solved if you are prepared to put the effort into it.  It is now possibly in most countries to access 100% renewable energy sources.  We have done it at DataVita.  It wasn’t easy  but we did it.  But, doing this before you address the first point is verging on irresponsible.  What’s the point of consuming too much renewable power?