here's been a lot of, well hot air, about the government proposals to reduce carbon emissions, new regulations for which came into effect on 1 April.

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme has been set up to ensure that companies make energy savings but so far it seems to have spread widespread confusion, with many firms not making any plans at all and large divergences of opinion as to how many companies are affected - the government estimates about 5,000 organisations while the FT puts the number at 30,000.

.There have been two reactions to the move: some software companies are rubbing their hands with glee at a new revenue stream, while others have decried the move as a cumbersome bureaucracy.

One company, nLyte Software was very quick off the mark, offering an assessment tool to help organisations measure their carbon dioxide emissions.

On the other hand, there are the observers who are lining up to damn the move as a waste of effort.Data centre provider, UKSolutions, was typical. The company quickly issued a press release, decrying the move. "The plan to tax companies for high energy consumption is completely misguided and will potentially hinder the growth of cloud computing,” says Daniel Lowe, the company's MD. “Where the CRC fails is in the detail and the new regulation that will tax companies for high energy consumption.This is ill-informed as it will penalise an industry such as the data centre sector, which traditionally consumes large amounts of power however uses and distributes this efficiently, and is also home to many cloud computing applications and services.

UKSolutions was particularly quick off the mark but I'm sure that I can expect to see many more similar predictions in my in-box in the coming weeks.

I've been highly critical of the government and its attitude to IT in the past but I think that it's got this right. I'm sure that the CRC could have been implemented better but at least the government has done something. No-one likes paying money so there will always be complaints but this is a a first step towards fixing a problem.

The IT industry is a high consumer of electricity and, up till now, there has been little attempt to monitor and control consumption - beyond seeing how it impacts on the bottom line. The trouble is, most companies say they're concerned about costs, but look how many leave lights on all night and PCs running 24-hours a day. Organisations will now start looking at low-power equipment, power management and perhaps, start allocating accurate power costs to departments.

Part of the trouble is that IT costs and power costs have always been counted separately and there's been no pressure on IT departments to reduce consumption. The CRC regulations has brought IT squarely into the equation and the data centre industry should stop moaning and start helping the reduction process.



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