Geographical load balancing with renewables
Given the significant energy consumption of data centers, improving their energy efficiency is an important social problem. However, energy efficiency is necessary but not sufficient for sustainability, which demands reduced usage of energy from fossil fuels. This paper investigates the feasibility of powering internet-scale systems using (nearly) entirely renewable energy. We perform a trace-based study to evaluate three issues related to achieving this goal: the impact of geographical load balancing, the role of storage, and the optimal mix of renewables. Our results highlight that geographical load balancing can significantly reduce the required capacity of renewable energy by using the energy more efficiently with "follow the renewables" routing. Further, our results show that small-scale storage can be useful, especially in combination with geographical load balancing, and that an optimal mix of renewables includes significantly more wind than photovoltaic solar.
© 2011 ACM. This work was supported by NSF grants CCF 0830511, CNS 0911041, and CNS 0846025, DoE grant DE-EE0002890, ARO MURI grant W911NF-08-1-0233, Microsoft Research, Bell Labs, the Lee Center for Advanced Networking, and ARC grant FT0991594.