Mexican-German exchange on perspectives for a sustainable data centre industry

Mexico

On 24 August 2023, representatives from the German Datacenter Association (GDA) and the Mexican Association of Data Centers (MEXDC) participated in a virtual meeting to exchange best practices for energy efficiency and talent recruitment strategies.

The German and Mexican data centre associations met to discuss common challenges and opportunities. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Data centres play a crucial role in our digital world by storing and managing data that powers our online communication, social media interactions, streaming, e-commerce, and more. The data centre industry is a major factor in the digital transformation. With increasing demand for data, the demand for infrastructure is growing as well. This raises the question of how this can be implemented sustainably.

In the framework of the Mexican-German Digital Dialogue, the Mexican Ministry of Infrastructure Communications and Transport (SICT) and the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) hosted a bilateral exchange on the topic. The aim was to promote exchange and cooperation between the German and Mexican data centre industries.

Main challenge: Energy efficiency of data centres

One of the focus topics of the meeting was the growing relevance of energy efficiency as a means for driving sustainability.

Representatives from the German Datacenter Association reported that sustainability is a high priority for data centres in Germany. However, there are two challenges: the high cost of renewable energy supply and the reuse of generated heat.  Current regulations such as the Energy Efficiency Act require data centres to reuse 15 to 30 percent of the generated heat. This resulted in difficulties to adapt the infrastructure of heat grids accordingly.

The representatives of the Mexican Association of Data Centers shared that Mexico’s biggest challenge is to ensure that all data centres in the country operate on sustainable energy. A great emphasis is placed on hydroelectric power. Mexico already has efficient cooling methods in place. The country is currently testing cooling technology from the United States that does not require water to further improve sustainability in the industry.

Difficulties in finding skilled personnel

Both associations agreed that finding qualified personnel for the data centre industry is another significant challenge. GDA representatives mentioned how this is partly because data centres are not commonly talked about in society. Representatives from MEXDC especially highlighted the lack of specialised study programmes and of fully dedicated professional careers for the data centre industry.

Both sides had the opportunity to discuss solutions to tackle this challenge. Participants from the GDA highlighted initiatives like Open Door Days to actively engage the public and raise general awareness of data centres.

Exchange and cooperation will be continued

The GDA and MEXDC agreed that they share common challenges and areas of interest. The participants expressed their interest in continuing the cooperation. The exchange was a highly valued first step to jointly work towards energy efficiency and sustainable growth of the data centre industry of both countries.

The Mexican-German Digital Dialogue will continue to provide a platform for the exchange of common challenges and opportunities for the digital transformation.

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