Small businesses and cloud computing initiatives could suffer if the government's proposed Carbon Reduction Commitment (recently renamed the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme) comes into force in April, according to a datacentre provider.
Daniel Lowe, managing director of UKSolutions, told V3.co.uk that the proposal had not been properly thought through, and does not fit with the government's desire to establish a digital economy.
"The CRC levy will punish firms who have made the move to use specialised datacentres to manage their data in order to take advantage of the security, availability and power efficiencies they provide," he said.
The duty will be levied against corporations that consume more that 6,000 megawatts of electricity per year. Lowe explained that datacentres will mostly fall into this band, and will invariably pass on this cost to customers.
"Small businesses could be hardest hit by the CRC, and many could stop using datacentres for hosting, and instead use their own services, which are not as efficient, and ultimately cause more power to be used," he said.
Lowe also argued that the CRC could affect the uptake of cloud computing, as the increased hosting of services on datacentres will lead to further energy use, potentially increasing the cost to firms.
Datacentres still need to reduce their own power levels, but Lowe argued that the efficiency ratio of the power they use makes the industry better than most.
However, David Symons, director of global environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, cast doubt on how much the duty would actually add to bills.
"We estimate year-one bills will only increase by a maximum of three per cent, and if businesses follow the goal of the commitment they can save money anyway by reducing energy costs," he said.
Symons conceded that the CRC could see small businesses footing bills they would otherwise not face if they ran their own datacentres, but is sceptical that this will turn companies away from specialist providers.
"There is a possibility there will be new costs for firms but, for the first few years of the CRC, any decision to outsource to a datacentre would not be affected by this possibility, especially given the raft of benefits a managed service offers," he added.
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