The European Data Centre Association (EUDCA) describes itself as representing the interests of commercial data centre operators in Europe. It also contributes to European policy on data centres. The Association was founded in 2011, as a member association registered under Belgian Royal Charter, and is run as a non-profit organisation.
Membership of the EUDCA is open to any commercial data centre operator working in Europe, large or small, and regional, national or sub-national. It is also open to vendors, consultants and others, but with a caveat: the EUDCA maintains a strict ratio of no more than 30 vendors or manufacturers to every 70 operators. This means that it can ensure that its policies are operator-focused. Current members include four consultancies, 11 national trade associations, two partner organisations, 19 operators and 10 vendors, as well as one investment authority.
The EUDCA’s mission is to “provide a platform for European data centre operators, both commercially and politically, with the overall aim of promoting and developing growth for the industry”. It is overseen by an Association Board of 12 directors, all of whom represent the data centre industry in some way. The day-to-day operations are the responsibility of an Executive Board, and there is also a Foundation Board that oversees the process of accepting new members.
The EUDCA is involved in various events, including partnering with conferences such as the Datacloud Global Congress 2022, to be held in Monaco in April. It offers member benefits such as content distribution, exposure via marketing platforms and presence at key events, and networking opportunities with key clients, as well as the chance to get involved in policy-making at European level.
One of the most important elements of any data centre association, particularly an umbrella body, is its influence on its members’ views and actions on sustainability. Sustainable data centres are crucial to the future of internet use and with rising energy prices around the world, this aspect cannot be ignored.
The EUDCA is committed to the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, a self-regulatory initiative among data centres and trade associations. This is part of the European Green Deal, which is designed to achieve the required greenhouse gas reductions, and make Europe climate-neutral by 2050. As part of this, data centre operators and trade associations who sign the pact are committing to take action to make data centres climate-neutral by 2030. This is undoubtedly ambitious, but the pact identifies clear actions and targets, including:
- Setting and meeting high standards for energy efficiency, demonstrated through power usage effectiveness targets. For example, by January 2025, all new data centres will be expected to achieve a power usage effectiveness level of 1.3 in cold areas, and 1.4 in warmer climates. Existing data centres must achieve the same targets by January 2030.
- Developing a new metric for data centre efficiency, working with the European Commission. Once the new metric is defined, data centre operators will consider setting a new target based on that metric.
- Matching their energy supply through buying clean energy, either 75% renewable or hourly carbon-free energy. This will be achieved by the end of December 2025, and must rise to 100% by the end of 2030.
- Setting and meeting ambitious water conservation targets. Data centre operators are expected to set targets for water usage effectiveness by the end of this year, and meet them by 2025 for new data centres, and 2030 for existing ones.
- Using circular economy practices, such as repairing, reusing and recycling servers and other electrical equipment. The target is to repair, reuse or recycle everything, although it is recognised that reaching this target will take time.
- Adopting circular energy systems. Data centres generate considerable heat, which is why they require so much energy for cooling. Data centres are expected to work with local users of heat to explore ways to feed the captured heat into nearby systems, and see whether these are practical, cost-effective and environmentally sound. Examples of suitable systems already in operation—though not necessarily linked to data centres—include greenhouses and hydroponic growing systems.
The governance of the Pact requires signatories to certify their adherence. In the first place, this will be for this calendar year (2022). In future, the adherence certification will last for four years. The EUDCA is committed to sharing information about the Pact, including a list of its signatories, via its website.