Friday, November 5, 2010

Regulate ICT projects & "Save-A-Watt" - an Open letter to Ministry of Environment


MOS (IC) Environment & Forests
Ministry of Environment & Forests
Paryavaran Bhavan
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road
New Delhi - 110 003

Sub: “Save a Watt” Mission

Honorable Minister,

Heart Greetings. I take this opportunity to share my personal experience on - how use of ICT (Information and Communication technology) is posing a new threats to pollute our environment and stress infrastructures, un-noticed and unchecked.

Information & Communication technology is considered as clean industry but global estimation of its contribution to GHG is 2-2.5 % (recent trend indicates 4 %). Majority of CO2 emission in ICT comes from PCs/ Servers/ monitors and network equipment.

ICT use has increased in an unprecedented manner – in Government and in private sector and hundreds of thousand PCs, network equipments and servers are installed and being installed every day. There may be more then a million servers with precision environmental control system working in various data center located in the state of Karnataka. All such centers are installed with huge capacity of diesel generators (DGs) and made to run during power outages, which is very common in “power scarce” Karnataka state. Bangalore city is getting polluted beyond imagination but remains unchecked and unregulated!!!!

This is really irony that - India is providing ICT services to clients overseas by polluting her own environment and stressing scarce resources / like power etc, of which rightful citizens are deprived off!

The other painful scenario is ICT enabling of Governance, where state Government are creating and using ICT infrastructures which are run on diesel generators at remote district and taluka places. These systems are kept running (majority of time on DG) even during night time which does not make any sense as there are no user during night time!!!

World over – ICT tools are used for checking and controlling GHG, but with India there is different story. Here unchecked use of ICT combined with electricity scarcity (forcing owners to run diesel generators) is adding huge amount of GHG to environment in addition to other negative side effects.

I submit following for your consideration Sir..

1. ICT installation should be allowed only at places where required amount of clean energy is available. No data center should allowed to run DGs. Environmental ministry should create “national clean energy foot prints” and provide to interested entrepreneur. India does not need economy growth at the cost of its environment.

2. There should be a total ban on use of DGs in government networks, like use of timber (wood) is banned. Government should also plan and implement network scheduling and official should follow mandatory requirement of switching off their PCs and AC when away. It would be better if state government(s) work more on creating clean power infrastructures instead of emplacing eGovernance., which is not possible without electricity at home in villages and remote places.

3. State Government should submit “energy audit” report to the ministry of environment on frequency decided. The environment ministry should prepare an electronic Performa for such energy audit.

3. All ICT projects needing more then aggregate 100 MW of annual power consumption should pass through environmental ministry check list for ensuring use of clean energy resources.

Let Government(s) establish a precedent of saving energy under ministry of environment’s “save a watt” scheme and I am sure others will follow.

I would be more then happy to personally assist you when ever required for drafting a national policy and its management. I look forward for announcement on “save a watt” scheme Sir..

Best regards.

(Dr R K Dave