Schneider Electric: Energy crisis disrupting net zero plans

81% of leaders at UK and Irish data centres say the energy crisis will impact their ability to meet emissions reduction plans, says Schneider Electric

According to research published by Schneider Electric, more than four in every five UK and Irish data centre leaders say the energy crisis has caused significant disruption to their emission reduction plans.

The leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation also highlighted that around half of the 1,500 surveyed organisations say they are delaying planned investment in sustainability and net zero plans. 

Energy crisis one of main challenges facing data centre leaders

Despite decarbonisation helping businesses reduce energy use and lower energy costs at a time when energy prices remain volatile, Mark Yeeles, Vice President, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric UK and Ireland emphasised how business leaders have shared how the energy crisis should be seen alongside the many other challenges they have faced over the last twelve months, such as economic pressures, cyber security and skills shortages. 

“Our research suggests that some of the UK and Ireland’s data centres are ‘kicking the carbon emissions can down the road’, as a result of the energy crisis,” he said.

“As fears grow about progress against global commitments made under the Paris Agreement, and the UK’s Climate Change Committee warns of a lack of progress on emissions cuts, the UK and Ireland need data centres to play their part and stick to their net zero and emissions reduction targets.”

Data centres and the energy crisis: stats explained

Four in ten of the organisations in the Schneider Electric report say they now have more immediate business challenges to meet instead of focusing on reducing carbon emissions, while a similar amount, 43%, say emission reduction targets are no longer an issue for their stakeholders. 

More than one in five, 22%, admitted that taking practical action to meet targets is difficult, while the majority of those included int he report recognise the importance of working to emissions reduction targets.

“Organisations still have time to meet their net zero commitments by understanding and addressing energy use, investing in renewable energy and energy saving technology, and embedding sustainability and carbon reduction targets in their business plans,” Yeeles added. “What’s more, those that invest in green skills and green jobs will reap the rewards of a diverse workforce for decades to come.”

Schneider Electric's report also found that shy of a third of data centre business leaders believe that climate change and net zero ambitions will become more of a priority over the next three years, with 11% feeling that net zero commitments will be diluted in that time.

The survey also reveals that 32% of data centre managers believe that energy prices will fall over the next three years, while 71% think their organisation will still be addressing the energy crisis in 12 months’ time.

Yeeles stressed that despite the apparent struggles, “it’s not all doom and gloom”. He said: “As our research shows, business leaders still believe in their climate change ambitions – they simply need to push the subject back up the corporate agenda.”

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