SCTE Energy 2020 Program Sets Benchmarks with Initial Standards

The Energy Metrics, Data Collection & Reporting Working Group of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has unveiled the first standards under the Energy 2020 program. The quartet of new standards establishes benchmarks for current energy consumption and describes metrics that can be used to determine progress.

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The Energy Metrics, Data Collection & Reporting Working Group of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has unveiled the first standards under the Energy 2020 program. The quartet of new standards establishes benchmarks for current energy consumption and describes metrics that can be used to determine progress. Energy 2020 aims to help cable operators reduce power consumption by 20% on a unit basis, energy by 25% on a unit basis, and grid dependency by 10%, while optimizing technical facility and data center footprint by 20%, all by the end of this decade (see "SCTE Eyes Energy Efficiency" and "SCTE: Edge, HFC Plant Are Energy Hogs"). Dan Cooper, vice president, critical infrastructure for Time Warner Cable and chair of the SCTE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee, says the four new standards establish the foundation for the program by helping to determine current levels of energy use and how to measure them. The standards include:
  • SCTE 210 2015, "Performance Metrics for Energy Efficiency & Functional Density of Cable Data Generation, Storage, Routing, and Transport Equipment." As the name implies, this set of specifications is designed to help operators determine the power and space efficiency of data generation, storage, routing, and transport equipment.
  • SCTE 211 2015, "Energy Metrics for Cable Operator Access Networks," creates a common definition of energy metrics that pertain to access networks that can be used to predict and evaluate the energy efficiency and financial impact of new access network equipment.
  • SCTE 212 2015, "Cable Operator Energy Audit Framework and Establishment of Energy Baseline," is as much a homework assignment as a standard. It aims to establish a baseline of current energy use among cable operators. To accomplish its goal, SCTE and the working group are asking operators to supply 2014 energy use data by September 1, 2015 that will be compiled on an industry-wide basis and then made available for comparison purposes, hopefully by SCTE's Cable-Tec Expo. The working group expects the effort will create a common approach for auditing energy consumption; operators will be able to compare their energy usage levels to the overall industry. Operators participating in the program will be asked to submit updated data each quarter. Cooper stresses that the data will reflect industry-wide trends; the power consumption of individual operators will be kept confidential.
  • SCTE 213 2015, "Edge and Core Facilities Energy Metrics," aims to provide a uniform method to assess and rank edge and core facility inventory for energy efficiency and productivity.

Additional details of the four standards can be found on the SCTE Energy Standards and Operational Practices page.

Cooper says it's possible some of the metrics described in these standards could shape RFPs in terms of establishing or describing energy efficiency targets that equipment will have to meet. However, he points out that SCTE 186, which defines environmental and sustainability requirements for a wide range of equipment, is already in place and being used for such purposes (see "SCTE 184 and SCTE 186 to Cut Power Use in Facilities").

Looking ahead, Cooper says more standards related to Energy 2020 are on the way that will help establish and influence operating practices. He also sees the sharing of information among operators and between operators and technology developers as a key goal of the program.

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