Nearly all data centre operators to be affected by EU directive coming into force this December
Legislation “likely to affect permitting, procurement and maintenance procedures for new and existing data centres”, European industry body warns.
All data centre operators with at least one facility in any one of the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) are set to be faced with harsher green-friendly policy coming out of Brussels.
The new legislation, which goes for the name of EU Medium Combustion Plant Directive (MCPD), has originally been put to work in on December 18 2015, but only now, this December 19, will be transposed into domestic law by each member state.
The MCPD sets out a limit to the amount of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants. Its aim is to reduce sulphur dioxides (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and dust, as agreed under the Gothenburg Protocol.
According to the European Data Centre Association, this will have an impact of operating, planned and future data centres across the region.
In a whitepaper, the body said: “The Medium Combustion Pollutants Directive will have a direct impact on data centre design and operation, primarily in relation to standby or primary generator sets.
“Due to the typical capacities utilised in the industry, many data centre generators will be required to meet the Directive’s local implementation requirements.
“As a minimum, the Directive will require plant emissions to be monitored on a regular basis by the data centre operator. Where existing equipment is not meeting emission limits, the equipment will need to be abated/modified.”
What is the Directive and what are the implications?
The Directive regulates the fuel emissions in plant machinery with a rated thermal input equal to or greater than 1 MW and less than 50 MW. The Directive also covers the issue of possible future regulation for monitoring emissions of carbon monoxide (CO). The Emission Limit Values (ELV) apply from 20 December 2018 for ‘new plant’, and from 1 January 2025 for bigger existing plants (5–50 MWth) and from 1 January 2030 for smaller existing plants (1–5 MWth). ‘Existing plant’ means a combustion plant put into operation before 20 December 2018 or for which a permit was granted before 19 December 2017, provided the plant is put into operation no later than 20 December 2018. The MCP from a data centre power perspective means for example generator sets standby and primary use.