Data Centre Expert Group

In 2022, experts from the Data Centre Expert Group were once again active in various Competence Group meetings, workshops and panel discussions. In addition to the numerous virtual meetings and rounds of exchange, more on-site meet-ups could take place as the Covid-19 pandemic started to subside, especially in the second half of the year.

The first event that took place was the “Expert Exchange on the Coalition Agreement” on 23 February. Almost 40 participants of the Competence Group exchanged views in a virtual meeting on current industry challenges arising from the coalition agreement of the newly appointed German federal government. Moderated by Dr. Béla Waldhauser, Leader of the Competence Group, the following topics were on the agenda: Potentials of utilising data centre waste heat, use and coverage of “green” electricity, ways and means to achieve climate-neutral operation, use of environmental management systems in line with EMAS, the possibilities of environmental certifications, and questions in the field of recycling management.

On 26 April, another virtual Competence Group meeting took place under the leadership of Dr. Béla Waldhauser. The core topics of the expert exchange included: which certification requirements apply to sustainable data centre operations; which metrics enable a comprehensive and objective evaluation; and the comparability of different certifications and geographical regions. In the course of three keynote speeches (Jens Gröger, Öko Institut; Joachim Astel, noris network AG; Marc Wilkens, TÜViT) and the subsequent discussion among the Competence Group members, the topics were explained and discussed in great detail.

On 11 May, representatives of the Competence Group took part in two panel discussions at the Data Center World 2022. The English-language panel was entitled “Innovative Data Center Design” and featured Tor Kristian Gyland (Green Mountain), Wojciech Stramski (, Udo Guizetti (SpaceNet), Jan Moll (DTM Group) and Holger Nicolay (interxion). The second panel focused on the question of “How to deal with critical infrastructures?” The following experts participated in the panel: Thorsten Hennrich (plusserver), Heiko Schrader (Penta Infra), Jörgen Venot (DC Data Center Group) and Gebhard Kaufmann (Piller Power Systems). The panels were moderated by Roland Broch from the eco Association.

On 19 May, Competence Group partners presented their topics and formats to interested guests at the newly established eco Interaction Day, which took place at the eco Cologne office.

On 8 and 9 June , the first on-site Data Centre Expert Summit took place in Darmstadt, following on from its first virtual event in 2021. Detailed reporting can be found here.

At the eco://awards on 23 June, companies from the data centre industry were once again honoured with the coveted awards. The following companies were eligible in the Data Centre Infrastructure category: Bulk Infrastructure AS, Scaleway SAS, and Green Mountain. The nominees in the Sustainable category were: Infinera GmbH, Lefdal Mine Datacenter, and Green Mountain. Dr. Béla Waldhauser, Leader of the Data Centre Competence Group and member of the jury, delivered the award in the Sustainability category.

In September, the Data Centre Competence Group launched a member survey on the current electricity price policy. On 10 October, the results were discussed in detail with Competence Group members in a virtual meeting. Small and medium-sized eco members from the data centre operations sector rated the current development in the electricity price market (as of Q3/2022) as being critical to very critical. A number of the companies surveyed expressed concerns about the lack of transparency on the part of energy suppliers and politicians. The results of the survey were made available to the participants in a white paper.

On 20 October, the Competence Group hosted a meeting at Bedburg Castle in the Rhine-Erft district. Using the example of the Rhineland lignite mining region and the ongoing structural change, almost 60 industry experts discussed the opportunities and challenges that arise when digital ecosystems are established. Following on from the presentations and the subsequent discussion, the participants had the opportunity to experience the use case on “waste heat utilisation in farming”, which took place live on-site at a local farm.

In the course of the interview series “eco Insights”, two German-language video interviews were produced in October with CG Leader Dr. Béla Waldhauser and Bedrettin Altay, NOYA Group. The two experts spoke with Markus Schaffrin, eco Association, about the topic of sustainability in the data centre environment and which measures can be used to achieve sustainability effects. In doing so, they presented detailed insights and illuminated approaches to waste heat utilisation, as well as the possibilities of renewable energies for data centre operations.

Part 1: Security of supply – important for data centre operation and planning
Part 2: Sustainability in and around the data centre

At the end of October, a joint position paper “Perspectives for a Sustainable Data Centre Industry 2030” was published alongside members of the Competence Group, the eco Alliance for the Strengthening of Digital Infrastructures in Germany and other associations.

On 17 November, the Data Centre Competence Group in cooperation with Deneff e.V. (German Corporate Initiative on Energy Efficiency) invited participants to the annual roundtable on “Energy Efficiency and Data Centres”. The agenda included multiple examples of the various ways in which waste heat from data centres can already be efficiently utilised. As a climate-friendly energy source, waste heat is a sustainable option for decarbonising heating networks, for heating buildings, and also for some industrial processes.

On 18 November, in the framework of the newly founded Rhine-Main Infrastructure Network, experts from eco and the Competence Group took part in a kick-off event at the “Industriepark Höchst”. The aim of the new network is to promote the expansion of infrastructure, especially energy infrastructure, in order to secure the future of the Rhine-Main region. Alongside eco, other local energy and Internet operators are involved in this network: Amprion, DB Netze, Fraport, Infraserv Höchst, Syna and Tennet.

The two eco Competence Groups IoT and Data Centre issued an invitation to a joint meeting in Lüdenscheid, which took place on 30 November. Under the motto “Data Centres as an Integrative Element of Sustainable Smart City and Smart Building Solutions”, 30 industry experts from both Competence Groups discussed various aspects of data centre operation and smart city development. The host ABB offered the participants an exclusive insight into the smart factory of its subsidiary Busch-Jaeger.

On 8 December, some 30 experts from the Competence Group, led by Dr. Béla Waldhauser, exchanged views with the project leaders of the PeerDC project (Public Energy Efficiency Register of Data Centres) on the status of the data registration form for the future recording of energy efficiency data. In the course of the year, Competence Group members had been informed about the development of the project at several joint group meetings (8 February, 1 July, 26 October and 5 December).

On 9 December, the Competence Group continued the dialogue that it had started in October on electricity price development. The participants in the virtual exchange gained the opportunity to learn about current developments on the electricity market, the upcoming amendment to the Energy Efficiency Act, and the status of discussions on the electricity price brake. Other points of discussion included: options for increasing energy efficiency in the data centre, alternatives for in-house electricity production, business expectations for 2023, and communication from the energy suppliers.