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Listen to: "Green Power Pass (GPP): The Benefits of Renewable Energy Certification"

Big-name cloud operators and hyperscale server farms – including Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – have been able to purchase renewable energy and claim the related benefits for years. But customers of colocation facilities, multi-tenant data centers, and cloud hosting have not been offered a similar option. There was no clear way for these customers to report the credits for their portion of renewable energy purchased. Instead, the facility operator was often the only entity to claim these benefits in order to avoid the reporting problem of double counting.

Now there is a way. The Green Power Pass (GPP) was developed specifically to address this problem. GPP certification enables organizations to claim the renewable energy they consume through data centers. This means that customers of data centers can claim the financial and reporting benefits that come with decreased greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions.

How Green Power Pass Was Developed

Green Power Pass was launched in 2019 by Iron Mountain, the corporate information management powerhouse. The effort was aided by BSR (Businesses for Social Responsibility), a non-profit which is also responsible for the Corporate Colocation and Cloud Buyers’ Principles which helps large buyers to encourage their data centers to switch to greener energy sources.

The GPP renewable energy reporting solution is based on a voluntary standard set by the Future of Internet Power (FOIP), a working group connected to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). It allows customers of the data center facility – businesses of various sizes – to report and get credit for the green energy purchased by the provider and used to power their computing equipment.

“As our data center business has grown, we recognized early on the importance of being able to measure and report on our energy usage and climate impacts. From those learnings, we realized that we had an opportunity to help our customers apply the same level of insight and benefit from the advantages of renewable energy sourcing for their own measurement and reporting. And, because we developed Green Power Pass on industry standards, our customers can be assured that they have a credible, reliable and fully transparent resource that meets their own standards for reporting and renewable energy in their data center operations.” – Mark Kidd, executive vice president and general manager, Iron Mountain Data Centers.

For colocation facilities, cloud providers, and multi-tenant data centers, this type of sustainability bonus is now a benefit that they can pass own to their customers. Really, it’s the first time that companies can account for energy in terms of use, instead of crediting it only to the buyer.

Why Green Power?

In the last few years, data centers have become a growing force in the market for power where it’s expected to be worth nearly $11 billion by 2025. In total, data centers currently consume about 3% of the energy generated. And with the number of data centers sharply on the rise, the demand for electricity is anticipated to increase as well. So, the need for energy efficiencies and power management solutions are becoming an integral factor in the design and operation of these types of facilities.

For big data centers, the increasing market demand for energy, reliance on it to run their own facilities, and rising prices represent an enterprise risk. So now, they are turning more to renewable sources in order to decrease the pricing risk profile of its energy. Making their activities more environmentally responsible is an extra valuable advantage.

On a larger scale, we can expect that as more customers realize they have access to renewable energy credits, there will be more and more demand for green power. Unlike conventional sources of electricity, renewable energy sources don’t emit carbon dioxide, air pollution, and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. In addition, switching to green power helps:

  • Support further development of renewable energy technology,
  • Decrease the carbon footprint and sustainability efforts of your business activities,
  • Reducing the demand for and dependence on fossil fuels,
  • Boost the reputation of the organization,
  • Enhance the company’s environmentally friendly image among customers, investors, stakeholders, and employees.

Particularly for large enterprise clients of data centers, being able to claim their benefits for the green power used can make a significant difference in their accounting and reporting.

What Are Some Green Power Options?

The majority of electricity that is accounted for with renewable energy credit (REC) comes from solar and wind power installations.

What Organizations are Taking Advantage of GPP?

Early adopters of the Iron Mountain’s GPP program have included some big names. They include the Boeing Company, Boston Medical Center, Credit Suisse, and Goldman Sachs. Other customers to take advantage of the Green Power Pass program have included Akamai Technologies, WeWork, and Arizona State University.

How Does the Green Power Pass Work?

The GPP solution outlines a chain of custody of sourced energy as it flows through the power distribution path. Depending on who controls the power usage, either the provider or the tenant. In the end, the credits are shared between the data center provider and the customer. Though taking advantage of renewable energy credits does require additional documentation and reporting on the part of the organization.

Pass on the Benefits of Renewable Energy to Your Customers

I.S. Partners is ready to help your data center pass on the advantages of green power to your customers. Our auditors can provide your clients with yearly GPP certification for reporting purposes. Documentation is provided in keeping with FoIP practices and covers all relevant power usage. Reach out to our team today for more information.

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