A Sustainable Internet: What’s Missing Ahead?

Information

Time: 2022/10/5 02:00-04:00PM
Venue: IEAT International Conference Center Meeting 8F Room 2

Moderator

  • Christine Chiang, Senior Manager, APJ Lead of Social and Environmental Responsibility at Hewlett Packard Enterprise / member of Standing Committee at Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE)

Panelist / Speakers

  • Rick Chang, Director of IoT Product & Solution at Fareastone Telecommunications Co., Ltd.
  •  Yiting Cheng, Assistant Research Fellow, Center for Green Economy, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research
  • Bo-Yi Lee, Head of Network and Cyber Security Division, National Center for High-performance Computing

 Christine Chiang, Senior Manager, APJ Lead of Social and Environment Responsibility at Hewlett Packard Enterprise / member of standing Committee at Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE)

Jiang opened the floor with the comment that companies in the past generally did not value environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability has become much more prevalent in Taiwan nowadays, which is gratifying. We are accustomed to using the Internet for everything, and life has become more convenient. However, problems such as energy consumption and electronic waste arising from the Internet and electronic products are often overlooked.

Rick Chang, Director of IoT Product & Solution at Fareastone Telecommunications Co., Ltd.

Chang shared Fareastone’s experience in creating low-carbon communication services with AIoT technology. He started with global trends and introduced carbon reduction requirements at home and abroad, the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) being one of the examples. Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency, Financial Regulatory Commission, Energy Bureau, and other agencies also have requirements such as net-zero carbon emissions and inventory verification. Chang pointed out that Taiwan is export-oriented and must respond to their clients from different nods of the global supply chain, and therefore needs to achieve higher carbon reduction standards faster.

As a telecom operator, Fareastone has two roles when it comes to carbon reduction. On the one hand, Fareastone acts as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to replace roads with networks, contributing to reducing carbon footprints. On the other hand, Fareastone emits greenhouse gases from computer facilities serving its enterprise clients, as well as 4G and 5G network infrastructure under its operation. Chang illustrated Fareastone’s energy-saving actions in different places such as storefronts, offices, data centers, computer facilities, and base stations. Reducing base stations’ loading through hybrid and hibernation technologies is one of the examples they do to save energy. He also introduced the carbon reduction measures of Fareastone’s Green Energy Cloud Computing Center. From architectural design, peripheral hardware, management platform, resource recovery, etc., they are saving millions of kWh of electricity each year.

 Yiting Cheng, Assistant Research Fellow, Center for Green Economy, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research

Cheng believed that the fundamental reason that sustainability and carbon neutrality is gaining public attention is the emergence of abnormal climate and its actual impact on human health. So far, 137 countries have pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Judging from the carbon emission rankings of various industries globally and domestically, the carbon emission of the ICT industry not only remained basically unchanged for years but also is not as high as other industries. However, the ICT industry is growing rapidly and uses a lot of energy. As a result, it has been identified as one of the key industries for decarbonization. The “cap-and-trade” program is recognized as the fairest and most effective carbon reduction policy. Companies that pollute are awarded credits that allow them to continue to pollute up to a certain limit, which is reduced periodically. Meanwhile, the company may sell any unneeded credits to another company that needs them. Private companies are thus doubly incentivized to reduce greenhouse emissions. First, they must spend money on extra credits if their emissions exceed the cap. Second, they can make money by reducing their emissions and selling their excess allowances. The current carbon price is about 83 euros per ton, and the global carbon market is growing.

Taking China’s trading market as an example, Cheng shared that many provinces in China have established carbon trading markets and listed key units since 2021. Among them, Beijing has included data centers as key emission units, and Guangdong Province has also included data centers in the carbon trading market since 2022. Regarding sustainable finance, countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Malaysia have all developed metrics and standards for determining whether enterprises or economic activities are sustainable while encouraging sustainable transformation. Among such approaches, the EU Environmental Sustainability Taxonomy is the most aggressive and complete.

In the end, she provided three suggestions to enterprises: first, develop the greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to identify GHG emission sources and reduction opportunities; second, disclose environmental information as references for peer comparison and financing; finally, to improve energy efficiency (especially the ICT industry), and plan renewable energy applications. She urged the government to support the industrial effort of GHG inventory development and information disclosure. In addition, the government could also establish a Cap-and-Trade Program in line with international standards to create incentives for the industry to reduce GHG emissions. The government should also establish GHG emission standards for different economic activities, provide industrial guidance, actively introduce renewable energy, reduce electricity carbon emission factor, and assist companies in reducing GHG emissions.

Bo-Yi Lee, Head of Network and Cyber Security Division, National Center for High-performance Computing

Lee shared how National Center for High-performance Computing (NCHC) achieves sustainability as an ISP. NCHC is the only large-scale computing platform and academic research network service organization in Taiwan. According to its mission, NCHC provides basic scientific research computing and network facilities, big data analysis, and other services. NCHC’s core facilities include high-performance computing and big data retention. The computer facility is the foundation of all NCHC’s network services, providing high-speed computing, storage, core applications, and project hosting services. NCHC’s current supercomputers are among the top 100 green energy computers in the world, which shows that NCHC takes not only speed but also energy efficiency into account when designing supercomputers.

Lee explained NCHC’s measures to improve supercomputers’ use of energy, such as hot-aisle containment systems (HACS) and water cooling devices. High-energy-consuming parts are all equipped with water-cooling designs, which effectively control the heat and increase the cooling effect. Regarding computer facilities’ energy-saving measures, energy-saving targets are set and reviewed annually. NCHC have on-roof solar panels installed to avoid direct sunlight and reduce the indoor temperature. In addition, NCHC implements the ISO5001 energy management system and continues to improve its energy management through the PDCA.

NCHC is certified for five areas of the Data Center Operation Standard (DCOS). NCHC has also begun to use virtual technology to provide flexible computing facilities services and dynamically adjust resources according to usage needs. This has improved facility utilization, reduced physical equipment, and reduced the environmental impact. Green storage is also one of NCHC’s energy-saving targets.

Q&A 

Q1:What are the challenges ISP face in reducing GHG?

A1:Balancing computing performance and energy efficiency has always been a challenge for the NCHC, according to Lee. Especially because NCHC’s computer facilities have been operating for years with old and new equipment from different ages, the gap in energy consumption between new and old equipment is vast. Budget is also a recurring issue. Chang from Fareastone pointed out that telecom operators will inevitably need a lot of electricity to provide services. Although the increase in electricity prices is a crisis, it also presents opportunities for companies to transform and evolve.

Q2:Are there economic and feasible measures to reduce GHG?

A2:Chiang from Hewlett Packard Enterpris suggested organizations and enterprises migrate servers in the computing facilities to data centers or even to the cloud if the usage is not high. Cheng stressed the criticality of GHG inventory. The Industrial Development Bureau in Taiwan has published GHG inventory development tools.

Q3:What are the roles of different stakeholders in reducing GHG and saving energy?

A3:Lee considered continuing to explore new technologies to improve energy efficiency the responsibility of internet infrastructure service providers. Chang urged the authority to develop a “cap-and-trade” program as soon as possible. He believed that the market would be the most significant advancement in need.

Q4:Can the panelists share other examples of enacting climate policy through legislation to achieve structural carbon reduction?

A4:The EU carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) is the most noticeable. EU’s CBAM puts a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products so that ambitious climate action in Europe does not lead to ‘carbon leakage’. Japan and the United States are also considering the same policies. This could mean that carbon reduction policies will no longer be limited to national affairs but a global and structural transformation.