LEAP – Lower Energy Acceleration Program

  • Energy
  • LEAP is a platform to support the future generation of data centres. Its aim is to speed up the transition to a sustainable digital infrastructure by deploying and accelerating existing and new technologies that contribute to energy efficiency and integration into the power system and landscape, and crucially with the circular use of materials.

    LEAP is a coalition of data centres, commercial end users, telecom providers, hardware suppliers, network organisations, universities and research centres, startups and governments in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA); a crucial internet hub for the international data centre sector as it strives for national, European and global impact.

    Because LEAP believes that new public-private partnerships are imperative, we are building an international platform for collaboration, knowledge exchange and communication. LEAP aims to make a positive contribution to a green, smart and energy efficient society in which growth, the environment, people and community go hand in hand, vital materials are preserved, and the Netherlands maintains its lead in innovation for a future-proof digital infrastructure.

    LEAP offers prospects for the use and acceleration of new and existing techniques and technological developments to realise a sustainable digital infrastructure:

    1. How can we increase energy efficiency using existing technology, such as power management and virtualisation?
    2. How can we accelerate the transition to a sustainable digital infrastructure in which we integrate technological innovation into the core of the power system and offer a spatial planning solution with the circular use of materials?

    Why LEAP?

    More and more data is being generated, transmitted and stored everywhere – including your organisation. Networks and data centres facilitate data traffic and IT equipment storage, while IT servers and software often remain the property of clients. An excellent digital infrastructure is therefore a precondition for society to run smoothly.
    There is a sense of urgency in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and throughout the Netherlands. Economic and social opportunities are arising as a result of digitalisation, and those opportunities in turn enable new technological breakthroughs. We want to continue to offer the best possible conditions for these new breakthroughs.

    To develop and implement visions for the sustainable digital infrastructures of the future, we urgently need new public-private partnerships in the data centre value chain. We seek organisations that can work together to develop future-proof systems and new initiatives. It’s hard for a single organisation to make a difference in all these areas. This is what makes collaboration so important.

    How does LEAP work?

    LEAP is uniquely positioned to create a robust ecosystem in which participants inspire each other, share knowledge and collaborate on innovations that have real impact. In partnership with companies, academic and research institutions and local governments from the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, we are working in a two-pronged approach – addressing existing technology as well as technological innovation – to develop the sustainable digital infrastructure of tomorrow:

    Existing technology

    To determine what energy savings can be achieved for data servers, we investigated the impact of power management on energy use in various pilots. The focus here lies on what the end user can do to save energy in their use of IT, both within their organisation and at the data centres where their data is stored. The pilots showed that an average energy saving of 10 percent can be realised with no loss of performance, using power management. It also appears that there are underused possibilities to save energy through virtualisation.

    Read more about the results that have been achieved in this news item in Dutch: ‘Spaarstand maakt dataservers 10 procent zuiniger’ (‘Power saving mode makes data servers 10 per cent more efficient). These are links to the four best practices (news items on the Board website in Dutch):

    1. Powermanagement op dataservers levert ons 10 tot 13 procent energiebesparing op

    2. De eyeopener van LEAP? Dat we al heel efficiënt zijn

    3. De eco-mode bespaart nog zeven procent energie extra

    4. Ook voor een kleine speler zoals wij is LEAP interessant

    In addition, we see there is a need for clear, unambiguous guidance and instructions from software and hardware suppliers on applying settings for power management and virtualisation. We offer the sector assistance with this by proposing a course of action that encourages change. The Happy Flow 1.0 manual was developed in cooperation with hardware and software suppliers Dell, HPE, IBM, Red Hat and VMware. This manual is intended for all organisations that have data servers, whether at their own offices or at a data centre, and want to improve their energy efficiency. The Happy Flow Manual provides instructions on what to do and how to do it, and answers frequently asked questions.

    Next steps

    Everyone can save energy using power management and virtualisation. Moreover, doing so is mandatory, because data centres and offices that use a lot of energy fall under the Environmental Management Activities Decree in the Netherlands, which means they have an obligation to provide information regarding their measures to save energy. Virtualisation and power management are ‘recognised measures’ to save energy.
    For more information, see the Recognised Measure List (Erkende Maatregelenlijst, EML) for offices and commercial data centres:

    In 2021, we will continue to work on the Happy Flow Manual 2.0 to provide organisations with even better guidance on how to improve their energy efficiency.

    Technological innovation

    In parallel, we are working on sustainable digital infrastructure using innovative technologies. This includes the circular use of materials. We are stimulating the creation of an ecosystem in which innovative organisations cooperate. The central question: how can we accelerate the transition to sustainable digital infrastructure, integrating the development and application of innovative technological developments in the energy system and landscape based on the circular use of materials? To answer this question, we are working on three topics:

    1. LEAP Technology: highly energy-efficient future technologies will be able to meet the exponential growth in data traffic. LEAP partners and renowned academic and research institutions such as VU Amsterdam and PhotonDelta are working on roadmaps to act as guidelines for investment and to inspire short-, medium- and long-term development projects. First deliverable: an innovation roadmap of technological developments that set the direction for investments.
    2. LEAP Distributed: By developing energy awareness in the architecture of hardware, data and software, both in terms of energy usage and of energy flows, we can simultaneously optimise energy costs and the availability of energy infrastructure. Distributed solutions also create new options in the integration of the digital infrastructure landscape. LEAP partners TNO-ESI and Alliander are exploring what is needed and who can provide it. First deliverable: a stakeholder analysis of relevant actors and a first exploration of distributed hardware, data and software architecture.
    3. LEAP Circular: Innovative procurement can play a role in promoting sustainable IT hardware. LEAP partners are creating a movement that promotes the circular use of both energy and critical material use. The first steps were taken during the Circular Economy Lab on data servers. In 2021, together with LEAP partners, we will be working on concrete steps to get circular data servers higher on the agenda of purchasing organisations and thus stimulate the demand for circular servers.

    Invitation to collaborate

    LEAP aims to demonstrate that collaboration leads to results and offers room for growth. The intention is to make a difference and move ahead in partnership with hardware manufacturers, commercial customers, IT administrators, data centres, local governments, universities and research centres, startups and consumers.

    If your organisation has a lot of data traffic and a significant energy demand, and if you are or would like to be active in making your energy use efficient and sustainable, we invite you to participate. Or perhaps you use or are aware of a state-of-the-art innovation in this field that can deliver significant energy savings and is scalable? Join us! Contact Marjolein Bot, Energy Lead.

    News

    Thumbnail van Innovations needed for transition to sustainable digital infrastructure
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    Innovations needed for transition to sustainable digital infrastructure

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    Thumbnail van LEAP Technology Landscape: trends and scenarios
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    LEAP Technology Landscape: trends and scenarios

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    Thumbnail van Board Talk: ‘Invest in sustainability to let the economy flourish’
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    Board Talk: ‘Invest in sustainability to let the economy flourish’

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    Thumbnail van Circular ICT procurement is to drastically reduce waste
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    Circular ICT procurement is to drastically reduce waste

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