The EUDCA and CISPE host an Energy Efficiency Directive Roundtable with Leading European Representatives

Brussels, 29 May 2024: Today, the European Data Centre Association (EUDCA) and Cloud Infrastructure Services Providers in Europe (CISPE) welcomed representatives from the European Commission, national ministries, and national trade associations in Brussels to discuss the newly adopted EU reporting framework for data centres. The EU reporting scheme, better known as the revised Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and the subsequent Delegated Act, came into effect this month. The first reporting deadline at an EU level is set for 15 September 2024 and national deadlines may be set even earlier.

Industry representatives repeated their concern that some data points are technically not possible to measure, such as data traffic reporting, which does not add value to improving the sustainability of data centre operations. On the other hand, operators are required to report data on IT equipment, which colocation operators do not have access to, as their customers own the IT equipment under high confidentiality. In addition, data points with a level of confidentiality that is too low, risk becoming a cybersecurity concern. Member States, under EU law, can add further requirements in the transposition process. This roundtable demonstrates why a harmonised and collaborative discussion to create a level playing field in reporting is important for both data centres, and digital infrastructure across Europe.

The roundtable comprised public and private stakeholders from across government and digital infrastructure landscapes. It constructively discussed technical gaps and solutions to make the reporting framework practical.

Currently, EU Member states are tasked by the European Commission to transpose the directive into national legislation. This led to a crucial discussion about creating a uniform legal framework for different types of data centres. Previously, a lack of understanding of the technical parameters has caused barriers to implementation.

Béla Waldhauser, Board Member of EUDCA said: “The Energy Efficiency Directive leaves many questions open, which must be discussed with member states. For instance, whether colocation operators will be liable if their customers do not forward relevant IT data. Exchanging with the national administrations was valuable to underline legal certainty for the industry.”

Starting this year, all data centre operators based in the EU with a capacity equal to or above 500 kW must report annually on a series of metrics. A publicly accessible, transparent, EU database for data centres will gather all reports. These reports will display relevant data points at several levels of aggregation. Data points include, for instance, data centre energy usage, together with other sustainability-related metrics. As a leading industry in the decarbonisation process, EUDCA and CISPE look forward to making transparency and reporting in the ICT sector a success.

As Francisco Mingorance, Secretary-General of CISPE said: “The Roundtable was crucial in bringing together industry and authorities. Member states can learn a lot from each other, and together with the European Commission clarify important questions regarding the functioning of the reporting mechanism. Together, we can ensure that our industry not only meets regulatory requirements but also leads the way in sustainable digital transformation.

Beyond reporting metrics that are beneficial in advancing sustainability and environmental targets, transpositions unaligned with the EU scheme would also prevent European decision-makers from gathering comparable data across Member States to make informed decisions about any potential future regulatory initiatives.

The EUDCA and CISPE, co-founders of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP), an industry-led initiative developed with help of the European Commission’s DG CNECT, aiming to enable data centers to reach climate neutrality by 2030 through measurable goals, both welcome the reporting scheme. With the new Commission coming in by the end of 2024, the partner associations hope that Brussels will include more data centres below 500 kW within the scope of the EED.

© Christina Christopoulou

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