Shades of Green and Cloud Regions
This year I bought an electric car and I love it! It is feature full, super-fast, and autonomous. On top of that, it helps me reduce my carbon footprint. Calculating how much it can reduce my carbon footprint is not easy. Even though all EVs do not directly emit any greenhouse gas, one has to take into consideration how the electricity that powers the car is produced to fully determine how green a car really is.
The same goes for the cloud. We all know there are many benefits of moving workloads to the cloud including performance, scalability, access to features, availability, and cost savings, but there is an additional environmental benefit. Most organizations have goals to reduce their carbon footprint and moving to the cloud is one way to help. All the major cloud providers offer a positive mix of better infrastructure, more efficient use of resources, and an accelerated hardware fresh process that results in reduced electricity consumption. In addition, they all have initiatives and commitments to building a clean cloud environment. One of the key factors in determining how green a data center is is its energy source. This is mostly dependent on where the data center is located and how that region generates its power. Let’s look at OCI and North America.
Oracle Cloud has 5 regions in North America – Ashburn, Phoenix, San Jose, Montreal, and Toronto. How does each of those states and provinces generate electricity?
*Based on 2019 data from Canada Energy Regulator (https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/index.html) and 2022 data from US Energy Information Administration (https://www.eia.gov/)
It is obvious which region generates the cleanest energy. Quebec generates 99% of all its electricity from a combination of hydro and wind power. I had no idea. I knew that fuel costs were lower in Quebec versus Ontario, but I didn’t realize that the electricity was not only cheaper, but greener. Quebec ranked first in Canada for per capita electricity consumption, however, their emissions per capita are the lowest in Canada.
Does your organization have a commitment to sustainability and reducing your carbon footprint? Moving to the cloud can help, but you can make an even larger impact with your choice of cloud provider and region. For North America – Montreal is the clear winner. Ontario is a close second. Nuclear energy, although not renewable, does not produce any greenhouse gas.
For me and my electric car, I live in Ontario. So maybe I would be “greener” if I charged my car in Quebec, but I’m still doing my part for the environment. I will take that as a solid green win, with a side of fun!