Chindata Group has released a pledge to becoming carbon neutral, becoming the first data center company in China to do so.

The company aims to be carbon neutral across all its hyperscale data centers in China and use 100 percent renewable energy solutions by 2030.

Chindata says it is committed to investing in clean energy and will have an installed capacity of no less than 2GW by the end of this decade. The company says it has already signed renewable energy contracts with local governments such as Datong and Zhangjiakou totaling 1300 MW of installed capacity.

The company says currently it had a portfolio renewable energy mix of 37 percent in 2019 and an average annual PUE of 1.21 across its facilities. The average PUE for a data center in 2020 is 1.58, according to the Uptime Institute.

Chindata Group operates two sub-brands: Chindata, which operates hyper-density IT cluster infrastructure in China; and Bridge Data Centres, which owns data center clusters in Malaysia and India. In November 2020, Chindata opened its 50MW data center in North China's Shanxi province.

China sets ambitious renewable goals for its energy-hungry data center industry

– ChinData

Chindata’s roadmap aims to achieve 100 percent renewable energy 30 years sooner than China's own national carbon-neutral pledge. In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the UN general assembly the country will ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2030 and reach carbon neutrality before 2060.

“We call on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green, and open development for all,” he said.

China is currently the world’s largest emitter of CO2 emissions, and its data center industry is a large contributor. Greenpeace reports that Chinese data centers produced 99 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, with 73 percent powered by coal.

However, a follow up 2020 report suggests the industry is making progress, and found that Alibaba, Chindata, GDS, and Baidu each operate one data center that is powered “in significant part” by wind and solar energy. Alibaba’s data center in Zhangbei in Hebei province purchases wind power directly from local wind farms. The report found that the most of data center facilities owned by the companies analyzed run at an annual average PUE of less than 1.5.

Though Chindata is the first Chinese data center company targeting carbon neutral, globally many have adopted the idea recently. In September 2020 CyrusOne pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040. Google has promised to move to 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, Amazon says it aims to be carbon neutral by 2040, and Microsoft carbon negative by 2030.