Volkswagen AG aims for carbon neutrality for its data centers by 2027

Volkswagen AG is adding data center capacity in Green Mountain, Norway


Volkswagen AG has announced that it aims for net carbon neutrality for its data centers by 2027. To achieve this, the Group has increased its processing capacities with Green Mountain, the Norwegian operator of CO₂-neutral data centers . A quarter of Volkswagen’s data center operations will be carbon neutral. This represents 10,000 tons of CO₂ less per year.

To accelerate its decarbonization strategy, Volkswagen AG has set itself an ambitious goal: to achieve net carbon neutrality in its data centers by 2027, three years earlier than planned by the European Green Deal, in which operators agree to make their climate-friendly facilities by 2030.

To achieve this, volkswagen increased its processing capacity at Green Mountain, a Norwegian operator of CO₂-neutral data centers. All servers are powered by 100% renewable hydroelectric energy and cooled by the nearby fjord.

“Green IT is a key topic in our ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) agenda,” said Hauke​​​​​​​​Stars, Volkswagen AG Board Member for IT and Digital Transformation. “While technology remains a key way to gain efficiencies, improve customer experience and enable new business models, IT accounts for around 3% of global CO₂ emissions. Faced with the growing demand for data processing and storage capacity within the framework of the Volkswagen Group’s NEW AUTO strategy, it is important to establish a sustainable roadmap in this area, with ambitious goals, to systematically reduce our carbon footprint. “Since most carbon dioxide emissions come from data centers, increasing our processing capacity at Green Mountain is a powerful lever to make them climate neutral by 2027.”

The partnership with Green Mountain began in 2019, when the Volkswagen Group commissioned its data center at the vendor-owned RJU1-Rjukan site in Telemark, Norway. The goal: to outsource non-urgent projects, but require a large processing capacity – for example, crash test simulations – to offload them from the headquarters’ data centers, thereby freeing up resources required for critical applications. In total, the Volkswagen Group has six data centers worldwide: three in Wolfsburg, two in Norway and one in Singapore.

Thanks to the latest expansion at Green Mountain’s SVG-1-Rennesøy data center, a quarter of Volkswagen’s global processing capacity will be made available in a climate-neutral way. This represents 10,000 tons of CO₂ less per year. The renewable energy used to run the Green Mountain data center would be enough to power 500 homes for a year.

“We are proud of Volkswagen’s renewed confidence in us, and we are pleased to support the Group in its transition to carbon neutrality,” said Tor Kristian Gyland, CEO of Green Mountain. “We share a vision of a more sustainable future. »

The new SVG1-Rennesøy site is a former NATO ammunition depot, buried under a mountain. Green Mountain has made it a one-of-a-kind, high-security underground colocation center with an area of ​​22,600 m². The infrastructure is designed to reach 2 x 26 MW of power; Volkswagen uses 3 MW. For server cooling, which accounts for 40-80% of power consumption in typical data centers, the site takes advantage of a nearby fjord, 100m deep, with a constant water temperature of 8°C throughout the year.

In Norway, 98.9% of electricity comes from renewable sources – mainly hydro. However, hydroelectric power has a small carbon footprint and marginal ecological impact. The Norwegian government strongly promotes the use of energy from renewable sources in new industrial sectors such as climate-neutral data centers. Tax breaks, low energy costs and political stability are all factors that make Norway an ideal country for green computing.

Volkswagen AG is the first automaker to commit to the goals set by the Paris Agreement, in 2018. The Group aims for net carbon neutrality by 2050, and plans to reduce its CO₂ emissions by 30% in activities within the core its business by 2030. Today, more than 90% of the electricity supply at Volkswagen Group production sites in Europe comes from renewable sources.

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