Brussels, Belgium, 3rd May 2022 – The Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA) is proud to announce Elia Group, a leading European energy company that owns two transmission system operators, as its newest member.
Elia Group operates across the whole of Belgium (through Elia) and in the north and east of Germany (through 50Hertz), successfully managing 19,192 km of high-voltage connections and supplying more than 30 million end users with electricity. The Group also builds and manages interconnectors with neighboring countries, allowing electricity to be traded on the European energy market.
Elia Group explains: “As a company which owns two transmission system operators, our mission is to realize the climate ambitions outlined in the European Green Deal. To do so, we are preparing our on- and offshore grid infrastructure for the integration of large volumes of renewable energy into the system in order to electrify our society in a sustainable way.”
SDIA’s Executive Chairman Daan Terpstra welcomed Elia Group to the organization’s growing network, stating that the Group’s expertise will significantly contribute towards the overall goals of the Alliance.
“It is essential to have members such as Elia Group, whose expertise in renewable energy integration will be of great benefit to the SDIA and its goals. Therefore, we are looking forward to this partnership and working together towards a more sustainable digital infrastructure,” Terpstra emphasized.
Given the increase in data consumption (caused by our increasingly data-driven society) and the associated demand for additional processing capacity, the energy consumption of data centers and the IT sector overall is due to increase.
Kai Schmied, Innovation Project Manager at Elia Group explains: “To meet this demand for data in an efficient and sustainable manner, we need better solutions for integrating data centers into the electricity grid. This includes location-related solutions; for example, placing data centers in regions with high amounts of renewable energy production. Technical and operational aspects should also be taken into consideration: we need to explore how data center operations can be more efficient, or even provide demand response services — i.e., whether they can adapt and change their consumption in accordance with the availability of renewable energy at any given moment.”
Elia Group is enthusiastic about joining the strong and like-minded SDIA network, which is comprised of motivated companies from the ICT industry and beyond.
Schmied notes: “In joining SDIA, we see many opportunities for networking but also for finding partners for testing out ideas, validating assumptions and launching joint projects. The network has the required technical expertise, and its members are able to tap into knowledge from different fields through the close relationships they have with relevant stakeholders.”
Additionally, new market solutions are needed to provide energy customers with detailed insights and transparency about how renewable energy consumption really works.
Schmied explains further: “A data center in the middle of Berlin cannot possibly run on green electricity when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Therefore, there is a need for a solution that provides energy consumers with a more granular insight into the true source(s) of their renewable energy consumption - so moving away from an annual overview of their sources of energy towards full transparency on a 24/7 basis.”
Elia Group is a key player in electricity transmission: it is one of Europe’s top five transmission system operators. Through its two TSOs - Elia in Belgium and 50Hertz in Germany - the Group operates 19,192 km of high-voltage connections that supply power to over 30 million end users (large industries and households).
With a reliability level of 99.99%, the group provides society with a robust power grid, so supporting socioeconomic prosperity. Furthermore, the interconnectors it operates with neighboring countries allows electricity to be traded on the European energy market.
Founded in 2019 and co-based in Germany and the Netherlands, the SDIA is a nonprofit network of more than 90 members and partners working to catalyze the transition toward a sustainable digital economy.
The Alliance also brings together stakeholders from across industries and fields, both public and private, in an effort to realize its Roadmap to Sustainable Digital Infrastructure by 2030.