WASHINGTON The Energy Department will fund 14 projects across the U.S. to develop technologies for improving energy efficiency in data centers and telecommunications networks.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu compared the $47 million initiative to the development of energy standards for appliances in the 1970s, which has yielded signficant energy savings over the last three decades. Chu said information technology systems currently account for about 3 percent of U.S. energy usage, and new technologies could significantly reduce that total as data centers and telecom systems expand.
"We see this as an opportunity to pick up the leadership mantel to drive energy efficiency" in the U.S. IT infrastructure, Chu said during a conference call Wednesday (Jan. 6) to announce funding for R&D projects.
The federal funding, part of last year's economic stimulus package, will be used for technology R&D projects focusing on three areas:
Equipment and software projects for core components of data and telecommunications centers, including servers and networking devices. One goal is to develop new software to maximize energy efficiency.
Power supply infrastructure technologies that can reduce power loss and heat generation on server-based IT and telecom systems.
Demonstrating new cooling techniques.
DoE said industry will chip in an additional $70 million for the energy technology R&D projects, bringing the total project value to $115 million.
Click here to view a list of technology projects to be funded under the DoE program.
Chu also said he expects comprehensive climate change legislation to be passed this year that will address energy efficiency. The legislation is needed as energy prices rise and because "we will be living in a carbon-constrained world," Chu said.
Nevertheless, passage of climate change legislation introduced late last year faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate.