According to the San Jose Mercury News, on Dec. 6, executives at the country's leading technology firms met with federal regulators to discuss the tech industry's power needs. The session was hosted by Advanced Micro Devices and is likely to be followed by additional round tables. Representatives from such firms as Google, IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, and Hewlett-Packard met with government energy officials, including Andrew Karsner, assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

"I think we may be at the beginning of a potential energy crisis for the IT sector," Silicon Graphics' Victor Varney told regulators. Varney noted that many tech firms are modifying their expansion plans and moving data centers out of California to secure more reliable sources of electricity. Karsner said DOE wants to use input from the companies to establish construction guidelines for technology facilities. He added that he is mulling audits of technology facilities to gauge power use, similar to DOE's assessments of steel mills and paper mills.

Research firm Gartner has forecasted that within two years, roughly 50 percent of the globe's data centers will lack the power and cooling capacity needed to successfully function for server companies. At the meeting, the technology executives highlighted the need to develop more efficient equipment and establish standards for constructing data centers. Google leaders urged that the energy consumed by notebook computers and desktop computers be taken into account as well. The executives further urged government regulators to collaborate with existing energy-centered groups like Green Grid.      EC