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Redefining the scope of sustainable data centres

The burgeoning Indian digital economy has resulted in a surge in demand for hyperscale data centers. The demand for power to run these data centers is steadily on the rise.

Today data centers are consuming 2 percent of India’s total power, and this is expected to grow to 6–8 percent in the coming decade.

The data center industry alone can setback the green ambitions that countries are driving, if we do not move to green sources today.

With increase in the demand for power consumption, the creation of sustainable data centers has become essential in an environmental and a business sense.

At Nxtra by Airtel, cognizant of this reality, we have been consciously choosing sustainable resources, energy-efficient techniques, responsibly consuming water, and adequate waste management to run our 11 large and 120 edge data centers around the country.

“Our ambition is to be a responsible corporate, sustainably creating value for all stakeholders, in a way that is environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and governance-led.”

We consider climate change as one of the most critical emerging risk. In the path toward carbon neutrality, we will continue to accelerate our commitment in reducing carbon emissions from our own operations, as well as emissions in value chain.

We have adopted a phase-wise approach, which starts with deriving emission projections until the target year, considering various types of emissions (scope 1, 2, and 3) and analyzing various growth scenarios of the business followed by identifying potential carbon reduction interventions in energy-efficiency, renewable energy, waste, water, transport, etc., after proper cost-benefit analysis, and measuring associated socioeconomic benefits, and it ends with implementation strategies and year-on-year neutrality roadmap.

At Airtel group level, we are committed to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its operations by 50.2 percent by FY2031 (from FY2021 as base year).

At Nxtra by Airtel, we have an ambition to reach net-zero by 2031. We are committed to have more than 50 percent of power requirements of our core data centers through renewable energy by FY 2023.

We will achieve this through multiple interventions, including accelerated green energy adoption across our data center operations, energy-efficient infrastructure and processes, as well as implementing sustainable business practices at our workplaces.

Key highlights of our renewable-energy procurement program:

  • In FY 21, we saved 65,394 tCO2e emissions via sourcing 82,777 MWh of renewable energy.
  • Invested in six companies to develop renewable power plants to source more than 170,000 MWh of green energy.
  • Partnered with RE developer to commission solar plant of 28 MWp for sourcing green energy to our data centers in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Signed multiple power-purchase agreements to source 52,000 MWh of green energy annually in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Partnered with RE developer in the state of Maharashtra for sourcing green energy to our data centers from 21 MWp solar plant.
  • Installed 28 rooftop solar PV plants with the total installed capacity of ~1.57 MW.
  • Sourcing green energy from 9 MW small hydropower plant for Delhi data centers.
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