Last summer, Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) put a green foot forward by moving two colocation facilities in London and another in Amsterdam onto 100% renewable power. Apparently that went pretty well, because they added another five today a bit further to the east.
Their five major German facilities in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich are also now on 100% renewable energy. That lets them reduce CO2 emissions by 29,400 tons or 245,000 trees. Of course hopefully nobody actually burns trees to power data centers, that's just a theoretical comparison. Level 3 is working with Germany's CLENS, which is certifying the energy sources.
There's no doubt that data centers are big energy hogs, and the push to reduce their usage of fossil fuels and such has been going on across the industry for some time and is particularly strong in Europe. This sort of arrangement is in some senses just juggling the bookkeeping on who gets credit for which part of the overall power generated. Whether it actually has a material impact depends on the energy utilities' overall fuel choices is an open question in my opinion, but one has to start somewhere.
It's interesting that Level 3 is doing this at a time when it is actively seeking integration synergies. Apparently it must not be costing them that much to take this path, which suggests that others may follow - at least in Europe.