Data localisation could boost India’s renewable energy
RBI wants all payment companies to store financial data within India. This would affect the likes of VISA, Mastercard, Google, WhatsApp and many others
New Delhi: The jury is still out on if forcing tech and payment companies to store data locally is sound governance. But if the Indian government’s stand does prevail, there could be an unexpected winner: India’s renewable energy sector. Here’s why:
- RBI wants all payment companies to store financial data within India. This would affect the likes of VISA, Mastercard, Google, WhatsApp and many others (Google this week said it will comply). A similar directive could be enforced on the e-commerce sector.
- Where do you store all this data? In data centres, of course. And data centres, with its large servers and coolers, are power hungry — in 2014, before the real data boom, US data centres consumed 70 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, that is 2% of the country’s total power consumption. A study says by 2020, 20% of world’s energy could be consumed by data centres.
- And all this energy cannot be, realistically, sourced from fossil fuel alone — which at present contribute 80% of the world’s energy. Why? Growing energy need plus fewer fossil fuel mean high cost for data centres. Hence, tech companies are these days buying up wind and solar farms.
- A report says the top global corporate buyers of renewable energy today are Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. In fact, this week Google signed a dealwith a Finnish firm to buy energy from three wind farms. Apple’s facilities — data centres, stores and more — are already powered 100% by renewable energy.
- All that means, more data centres in India could mean new, power-hungry customers for India’s renewable energy market, which is already seeing better investment growth than China. (India’s target is 175 GW of renewable power by 2022 against its current capacity of around 60 GW).