Senate to Vote on Data Center Power Bill

The U.S. Senate is next in line to take up the issue of power consumption in data centers.

Mirroring what the House of Representatives did the week of July 10, the Senate on July 19 introduced a bill that would have the federal Environmental Protection Agency review the issues surrounding power consumption in data centers, assess the industry’s response in making more energy-efficient systems and determine ways to encourage corporations to adopt such technology.

An almost identical bill passed the House 417-4 on July 12. If the Senate approves the measure, it will go before President Bush for his signature.

“This EPA analysis would help find ways to conserve the amount of energy consumed in two areas where energy use will skyrocket in the next few years,” Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in a prepared statement.

“This legislation has already been passed by overwhelming numbers in the House and it is essential in promoting energy efficient technology.”

Bingaman co-sponsored the bill with Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and George Allen, R-Va.

The technology industry has seen its customers’ costs to power and cool their data centers skyrocket due to such factors as more powerful and more dense servers and processors, inefficient cooling systems and rising energy costs.

Vendors have begun taking steps to address the problem, with chip makers such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, IBM and Sun Microsystems creating processors that offer greater performance but consume less power.

Systems makers also are building energy-efficient features into their hardware and management software.

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