Investment in data centers has grown exponentially since 2013. Despite the increased investment, demand and data consumption are outweighing the available infrastructure to support growth. As a result, data center companies are trying to keep pace with such demand by increasing capacity and new facilities while understanding that innovative power and energy solutions need to be prioritized and implemented to mitigate the impact on local and global ecology.

IMAGE 1 – Data center energy forecast: ScienceDirect simulates the data centers’ energy consumption for the period 2016–2030 with the model of image 1 and assumes that future technological and behavioral trends are maintained.

Countries and local communities are increasingly aware of renewable energy, putting pressure on businesses to use clean resources. Although global internet traffic has increased 15-fold since 2010, the energy used in data centers remains relatively unchanged. A 2022 S&P Global survey states that European enterprises cited on average a PUE of 2.1, while most cloud datacenters aim for an average PUE of 1.3-1.4 or lower, and leased datacenters can be anywhere in between.

Gartner, a global leading analyst firm, predicted that by 2025, without sustainable practices, AI alone will consume more energy than the human workforce, significantly offsetting carbon-zero gains. If this prediction comes true, data center operators will become a driving force for solving sustainability problems across the globe. However, solutions are a challenge.  For instance, renewable energy is in high demand but not in high supply, especially when trying to implement 24×7 green computing solutions.  One type of renewable, solar power, is great at the right angle, latitude, and the right sphere.

Solar power in Alaska, for instance, is not as effective or reliable as solar power in Hawaii simply due to the geographic locations and the natural tilt of the earth. The lack of sunshine is overcome with an abundance of batteries to store as much energy as possible during sunny periods to make up for the night, shade, and other natural barriers like snow.  Renewables are vast, however, and picking the right renewable is not the same in one location as another.

Beyond solar, there are a vast array of renewable energy solutions. These include the use of geothermal, wind, and hydrogen to power data center facilities. And the trend today focuses on generating power directly on-site at the data center location via microgrids.

The EU Green Deal proposes that Europe becomes a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. In addition, over 60 companies have signed the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact in which they pledge to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 targeting five areas: clean energy, energy efficiency, water, circular economy, and circular energy systems.

Due to the heightened awareness and the industry’s commitment to meeting or exceeding global sustainable standards, data centers in communities such as Sines, Portugal, are being built to achieve green data center credentials while proving to be excellent environmental stewards.

Start Campus, the company responsible for the development of 100% green energy data center ecosystems, is offering the necessary action and transparency required to set and elevate industry standards around environmental sustainability on a local, national, and global scale.

Start Campus’s SINES Project is the very first 100% sustainable and 24×7 renewable energy data center campus, currently under development. The data center campus is set to reach carbon-neutral operations by 2025 and to be fully carbon-neutral by 2028. Currently, SINES Project has a PUE of 1.1 and a Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE) of 0 via the campus’s multiple renewable energy solutions and its innovative reclaimed ocean water cooling solution.

In October 2022, Start Campus announced it joined the iMasons Climate Accord, a coalition united on carbon reduction in digital infrastructure. Start Campus joined Amazon Web Services, Google, Meta, and Microsoft among others in the effort to drive the reduction of carbon within the digital infrastructure sector, and enforce industry-wide sustainability standards and transparency.

Having launched in 2020, Start Campus has sprung into action to elevate industry-wide sustainable standards and has only just begun! To learn more about what Start Campus is doing around environmental sustainability, visit https://www.startcampus.pt/.

Report says Portugal offers a unique location for data centers striking a balance between best practices in data protection regulatory environment and ranking as a top business-friendly country

Lisbon, Portugal – June 23, 2022 – Portugal offers an unparalleled location for data centers committing to best practices in data protection rules and ranking as one of the most business-friendly, stable and open countries in the EU in terms of innovation, digitalization and technical expertise. A recent report prepared by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, an international law firm, and PLMJ, a law firm based in Portugal, says.

The report, “Embracing the Challenges of Digital Transformation,” describes Portugal as a welcoming hub for large international technology companies and hyperscalers. The paper explores how Portugal specifically addresses data protection and cybersecurity challenges that arise when facing heightened digital demands.

The digital infrastructure industry has witnessed rapid change, with global internet traffic reportedly surging by over 40% in 2020 alone. As global digital transformation continues to gather pace, European countries are placing increasing emphasis on personal data protection through the adoption of new laws and regulations. Other European countries are embracing concepts akin to “data sovereignty”, meaning to keep data within a state’s own borders.

According to statistics portal and industry ranking provider Statista, the amount of data created, consumed and stored has been growing exponentially over the last decade, growing from 2 zettabytes in 2010 to more than 180 zettabytes in 2025. As a country eager to play a key role in the future of global connectivity, Portugal is reportedly planning to allocate 22% of the grants and loans it receives following the COVID-19 pandemic from the EU particularly to measures that support the digital transition (c. €xx billion). Portugal already benefits from other geographical and technological advantages such as an ever-expanding network of fiber optic cables which positions it as the “European gateway” country to Africa, the Americas, and beyond. At the same time, the country has been publicly recognized for fostering innovation and has taken concrete steps to embrace the digital transformation and encourage technological investment.

According to the paper, Portugal adheres to best practices in data protection and cybersecurity and aligns its cybersecurity framework with industry-leading international standards and certifications. Likewise, it is consistently ranked as one of the most innovative and business-friendly countries in the EU.  For example, in contrast to other European countries, Portugal is committed to the concept of “data mobility,” meaning that it has not enacted any additional laws prohibiting the transfer of data outside of its territory or restricting the processing of such data (sometimes known as “data sovereignty laws”).

Similarly, Portugal does not impose any additional restrictions on the use of cookies and e-marketing in addition to those set out at EU level under the e-Privacy Directive. Also, the Portuguese data protection and cybersecurity regulators have been supportive and collaborative with private stakeholders, including hyperscalers.

The paper argues that Portugal is well-positioned not only to keep pace with the digital transformation but also to continue its journey as one of the European frontrunners for technological innovation. Portugal is a highly desirable market in which to establish and operate a data center, and it is likely to further its position as a trailblazer for innovation, cybersecurity standards, and data protection for the foreseeable future.

In April 2022, Start Campus announced beginning of construction of its groundbreaking 495MW SINES 4.0© data center campus project in Sines, Portugal, designed to address the rapid digital transformation on a global scale with sustainability at the forefront. The SINES 4.0© project is one of the largest data center projects in Europe and will be 100% green. When completed in 2027, the campus will comprise of nine buildings and its first building is expected to be ready for service in the first quarter of 2023.

The paper “Embracing the Challenges of Digital Transformation” was prepared by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and PLMJ. Read Full paper here.

Start Campus, the company responsible for the development of the mega data center in Sines, launched
a new competition to support community projects in Sines and Santiago do Cacém. The “GAMMA
Community Platform”, whose name is an allusion to Vasco de Gama and the ‘gamma factor’ of business
(social impact), will allocate 100 thousand euros to initiatives that bring concrete benefits to the population of the
region.

Full article here.

The company recognizes that there is a will from the various “players” in the sector to transform the country into a digital “hub”
and take advantage of Portugal’s strategic and geographic potential. The national market has been more
retail than wholesale.

Start Campus has been one of the most active voices in relation to strengthening the country’s connectivity. The
company is building a mega data center in Sines, with a capacity of 495 megawatts,
in a total investment of 3.5 billion euros. In a publication at the beginning of the year, he classified
Portugal as a “hidden gem” in the international telecommunications scene.

Full article here.

Lisbon – Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – Start Campus, the company responsible for developing the SINES mega data center, has launched the GAMMA Community Platform, an annual initiative that will support community projects in Sines, Portugal and Santiago do Cacém, Portugal.

 In the first edition of the program, 100 thousand euros will be allocated to projects that bring concrete benefits to the community of the region that hosts Start Campus operations. People, organizations or companies with proposals for transformative projects focused on local communities can apply for this support.

The program’s name is inspired by Vasco de Gama, a historical figure born in Sines, and the “gamma factor” of business, a symbol of social impact. The goal of Start Campus in creating the GAMMA Platform is to empower community members to be leaders in regional development by supporting local initiatives that reflect four pillars of investment: educational development, environment, community, and entrepreneurship.

The new program was presented during the Sea Fair in Sines by Fabiola Bordino, Director of Sustainability at Start Campus, who stated on the occasion that “we aim to leave a positive impact on the region by promoting economic growth and prosperity through collaboration with local organizations and entrepreneurs, residents, and other stakeholders to understand and support their vision for the future of this community.

“The design of this program is the result of an active dialogue with the community of Sines and Santiago do Cacém, and is the result of a previous consultation carried out in recent months with non-governmental organizations, companies and civil society institutions,” he adds.

Applications to the GAMMA Community Platform are free and can be made on the Start Campus website between October 15, 2022 and January 15, 2023. 

After this period, the highest scoring projects will be presented to the judges during an Innovation and Interview Event where qualified applicants will have the opportunity to present their ideas. Afterwards, the projects will be subject to a public and community poll in a model similar to the participatory budget in practice in some municipalities in the country.

The project with the most votes will then be awarded up to 90% funding. Additional bidders may receive funding based on the remaining budget available for this year. Recipients will be announced on the platform and celebrated at a ceremony in Sines at the end of April.

In addition to funding the winning projects, Start Campus will also provide technical support to ensure their execution on the ground and for the benefit of the community. All selection phases will be carried out using clearly defined scoring criteria.

Extreme temperatures have already caused instability at Google and Oracle’s data centers in London.
Can episodes of this kind be repeated and what measures are companies taking to protect
themselves?

The warnings are not new. The Earth is getting hotter and, over the next 20 years, it is expected to
continue to warm, with the possibility of exceeding the predicted 1.5 degrees of increase, according
to a United Nations report last year.

As notícias sobre ondas de calor e fenómenos climáticos extremos sucedem-se até este ponto do ano.
Em julho, por exemplo, o verão ainda ia a meio e já eram registados recordes de temperaturas, em
alguns casos surpreendendo países menos habituados a lidar com números tão altos nos termómetros.
Em Inglaterra, por exemplo, foram atingidos os 40,2 graus, superando o anterior recorde de 2019, de
38,7 graus. As elevadas temperaturas levaram os governantes do país a lançar um alerta vermelho e a
fazer algumas reuniões Cobra, habitualmente feitas em situações de emergência.

Sines 4.0 project will use seawater to cool structures

(…) “The site has been extensively studied to ensure the maximum level of resilience in situations of
natural disasters, which is required by our customers”, says Afonso Salema, CEO of Start Campus.
In addition, “mild temperatures” in the region also have helped. In terms of resilience, the project
is “a mission critical project, that is, it is prepared for any type of disaster (earthquakes,
tsunamis, etc.) or extreme conditions (sudden increase in temperatures, etc.)”, adds Afonso
Salema.

Start Campus aims to achieve carbon neutrality in operations by 2025. In this
sense, energy efficiency plays a leading role. To keep the structures at the
ideal temperature, Sines 4.0 will use sea water to cool the servers. But the company
notes that “the data center will cool the servers with seawater, but it will not consume it”. That is
the “water enters the campus, passes through the cooling system and is returned to the ocean”.

Full article here.

Whenever we send an email, click on an ad or make an online purchase, we create
an information unit. An invisible action, but that generates impacts on the planet. Cloud computing
currently emits as much carbon dioxide as aviation and is estimated that by 2030, it will represent
more than 20% of the Earth’s energy bill.

63% of the world’s population is connected to the Internet. Google estimates an average of 63,000
search engine queries per second.

Comments by Afonso Salema, Start Campus; Nuno Lopes, IST professor; Francisco
Ferreira, ZERO Association; Rui Oliveira, scientific director of the Minho Advanced Computing Center.

Full article here.

In this episode I am joined by Afonso Salema, CEO of Start Campus. Afonso is leading the
organisation building one of the largest data centre campuses in Europe, Sines 4.0.

Afonso outlines how he has progressed his career and why he decided to enter the world of data centres.
Afonso also shares his views on how the sector will develop over the coming years.

We then discuss Start Campus and Sines 4.0. Afonso shares why he compares the Sines story to
that of Ashburn Virginia, and why the location is such an important geography in
global connectivity. Afonso provides an insight to the scale of Sines 4.0 and the impact the project has had on the local
community.

Finally we look to the future for Start Campus and also the data centre sector.

Full article here.

DCD interviews Afonso Salema, CEO of Start Campus

Start Campus has recently started the construction of the first phase of the SINES 4.0 project. The first
building on the campus will have a total capacity of 15 MW, and is expected to be completed in the first
quarter of 2023.

Full article here.