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For Immediate Release: June 19, 2006
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989

M E D I A     A D V I S O R Y

California Energy Commission Partners with Silicon Valley Companies
to Improve Energy Efficiency for Computer Data Centers

Media Invited to New Technology Demonstration at Sun Microsystems on June 21


What: An innovative demonstration for a project to switch the alternating current (AC) powering data centers to DC (direct current) to reduce electricity and other operating costs by billions of dollars. Data centers-the backbone of the Information Age-provide data storage for Web sites and data bases in support of virtually every larger-sized private corporation and institution. These centers can use 100 times more electricity than a typical office building on a square foot basis-putting a strain on the electric grid, especially in summer months. More information can be found at: http://hightech.lbl.gov/dc-powering/about.html

When: Wednesday, June 21, 2006 -10:00 AM

Where: Sun Microsystems, 7777 Gateway Boulevard, Newark, CA 94560

WHY: With funding and support from the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, researchers have teamed with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Intel, Cisco and other industry leaders to demonstrate technology with a potential to distribute DC current directly to data center equipment instead of AC from the grid. By switching to a DC power source, companies can reduce the cost of operating data centers by billions of dollars while improving reliability and lengthening server life. Other benefits include reduced building cooling needs, higher equipment densities, and reduced heat-related failures.

LBNL estimates that 3 percent of U.S. electricity is consumed by digital equipment (computers, servers, routers, etc). Of this total, roughly 0.12 percent (or about 500 megawatts) is used to power data centers. In the San Francisco Bay area and the Silicon Valley, where 17 percent of the total data centers or server farms nationwide are located, it is estimated that about 80 megawatts are needed to keep these running at all times.

WHO: The project team has assembled an operating demonstration of direct current power strategies and will provide a brief visual presentation and a tour of the facility. A question and answer session will follow. Media representatives interested in attending should contact Allan Chen at (510) 486-4210 (office) or (510) 332-5749 (cell) or e-mail a_chen@lbl.gov

VISUALS: An operational data center, including servers and racks.

BACKGROUND: The California Energy Commission's PIER program supports energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects that will help improve the quality of life in California by bringing environmentally safe, affordable and reliable energy services and products to the marketplace. The PIER Program annually awards up to $62 million to conduct the most promising public interest energy research by partnering with RD&D organizations including individuals, businesses, utilities, and public or private research institutions. PIER brings new energy services and products to the marketplace and creates state-wide environmental and economic benefits.

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