The first European connection to what we now know as the internet was activated in Amsterdam 25 years ago. To this day, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area remains one of the top-three European data centre hubs, together with London and Frankfurt. As such, the Amsterdam region handles a significant proportion of all European internet traffic.

Current usage and envisaged savings 

In 2013, the circa 40 data centres in Amsterdam are expected to use approximately 460 million kWh of electricity. This represents 11% of the total amount of energy used collectively by the 22,000 companies in Amsterdam. The data centres have now agreed to save 68 million kWh over three years, by introducing measures such as more efficient cooling equipment. Generating this amount of energy would require 13 middle-sized wind turbines or 80 football pitches of solar panels. The various targets have been recorded in energy savings plans.

Amsterdam Alderperson Van Poelgeest is pleased with the agreements made with the data centres by the Omgevingsdienst Noordzeekanaal (North Sea Canal Environmental Service) on behalf of the City of Amsterdam. Commenting on developments, he said: “Data centres are significant energy users and I’m pleased that we have been able to reach clear agreements with a number of companies to cut energy usage. This means that the sector is actively contributing to achieving Amsterdam’s climate and energy objectives. I hope that other municipalities follow our lead.”

The majority of the companies are voluntarily introducing energy saving measures. A potential solution for dealing with companies refusing to participate may be found in Dutch energy management legislation (Wet Mileubeheer). This legislation can be used to oblige companies to introduce additional energy saving measures that recover their costs within five years.