Volkswagen AG aims to make data centers climate-neutral by 2027

Today, Volkswagen AG announced its goal of making its data center operations carbon-neutral by 2027. To achieve this goal, the Group has expanded its computing capabilities at Green Mountain, a Norwegian operator of carbon-neutral data centers zero. With this expansion, a quarter of Volkswagen’s global data center operations will operate emission-free. This corresponds to an annual CO₂ saving of 10,000 tonnes.

By accelerating its decarbonisation strategy, Volkswagen AG has set itself the ambitious goal of making its data centers carbon-neutral by 2027. This would be three years earlier than foreseen in the European Green Deal, under which European data center operators data centers have agreed to make their data centers climate-neutral by 2030. To achieve this goal, Volkswagen has expanded its data center operations at Green Mountain, a Norwegian operator of CO₂-neutral data centers. All of Green Mountain’s servers run on 100% renewable electricity generated from hydroelectric power and are naturally cooled by the adjacent fjord.

Hauke ​​Stars, Member of the Board of Management, IT and Digitalization, explained: “Green IT is a key topic on our ESG agenda. While technology is the key driver for greater efficiency, better customer experience and new business models, IT accounts for approximately 3% of global CO₂ emissions,” explained Hauke ​​Stars, member of the board of directors , IT and digitization.“Given the growing demand for computing power and data storage to enable the Volkswagen Group’s NEW AUTO strategy, a sustainable IT roadmap with ambitious goals is crucial to systematically reduce our carbon footprint. centers are the top carbon emitters in IT, expanding our compute capacity at Green Mountain is an important lever in making our data center operations carbon neutral by 2027.”

The collaboration with Green Mountain began in June 2019, when the Volkswagen Group opened its data center operations at Green Mountain’s RJU1-Rjukan site in Telemark, Norway. The goal was to outsource non-time-critical high-performance computing projects, such as crash test simulations, to free up capacity in Volkswagen Group data centers at headquarters needed for critical business applications. In total, the Volkswagen Group has six data centers around the world, three in Wolfsburg, two in Norway and one in Singapore.

With Volkswagen AG’s latest expansion to the SVG1-Rennesøy data center on Green Mountain, a quarter of the Group’s global computing power requirement will run emission-free. This corresponds to an annual CO₂ saving of 10,000 tonnes. The renewable energy used to operate Volkswagen’s data center at Green Mountain would be enough to supply 500 households with green electricity for one year.

“We appreciate the renewed trust Volkswagen has placed in us and are delighted to support them on their journey to full carbon neutrality,” said Tor Kristian Gyland, CEO of Green Mountain. “Together we share the same vision of a more sustainable future”.

For the new SVG1-Rennesøy site, Green Mountain converted a former high-security NATO ammunition depot into a single 22,600 m² high-security mountain salt colocation data center. The infrastructure is planned to be scaled up to 2 x 26 MW, with Volkswagen using 3 MW of capacity. For cooling, which in traditional data centers represents 40% to 80% of the electricity needed to power the servers, SVG1-Rennesøy takes advantage of the adjacent deep-water fjord that reaches 100 meters, with constant water temperature of 8 degrees Celsius all year round.

In Norway, 98.9% of electricity generation is renewable, with the majority generated from hydroelectric power. Hydropower has both a minimal carbon footprint and a marginal ecological impact. The Norwegian government is strongly promoting the use of energy from renewable energy sources for new branches of industry, for example in climate-neutral data centres. Tax breaks, low energy prices and stable political conditions make Norway an ideal place for green IT.

Volkswagen AG was the first automaker to commit to the Paris climate accord in 2018. By 2050, the company aims to be CO₂ neutral. In its core business, the Group intends to achieve a 30% reduction in CO2 by 2030. Today, more than 90% of Volkswagen AG’s external power supply for its European production sites already comes from renewable energies.

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