Channel businesses should be planning on how to deal with forthcoming Carbon Tax now, according to experts.
With the July 1 starting date looming, what was once a confused picture is starting to become a lot clearer as industry leaders figure out how to best deal with the tax and where business opportunities lie.
The government’s bottom line is this: The tariff to be imposed on Australia’s largest polluters will start at $23 per carbon ton – up by 2.5 per cent in real value for the consecutive two financial years. The treasury expects that price to increase to $29 in 2015/16 as the rate transitions towards a market set pricing.
Channel Dynamics director, Cam Wayland, said the channel had to understand where and how the Carbon Tax will be applied and what its impact means to its clients.
As an example, Wayland said businesses should be aware of where they buy their energy from as Victoria sources its energy from brown coal while NSW sources it from black coal.
“Therefore, shop around for energy, understand the deregulated energy market and understand the clients to help them improve their energy efficiency,” he said.
Wayland recommended channel businesses should use the opportunity to develop consulting practices around energy efficiency.
He suggested they did an audit or inventory check to be in line with energy efficiency methods.
“For example, the server manufacturers are talking about replacing their equipment and virtualising. They say that the energy efficiency from newer IT equipment versus persevering with old IT equipment can be very significant,” he said.
Wayland said this was something more SMBs should take on board as larger enterprise clients had implemented a lot of these resources.
He said that with the uncertainty surrounding carbon tax initiatives after 2015, the channel should plan its IT equipment lifecycle within the technology refresh cycle instead of “ringing out the life of the existing IT equipments”.
Within the current technology cycle, he claimed that there were plenty of opportunities to do so particularly in areas such as the latest generation of servers and virtual desktops.
Gartner research vice-president, Phillip Sargeant, also sees opportunity in the server and virtualisation arena.
He told a Garner Infrastructure and Operations Data Centre Summit in Sydney, that if virtualisation is well implemented, it can push the average server performance of seven to 12 per cent to the region of 40 to 50 per cent, which would translate into floor space and energy savings.
However, the number of cores per server and overall energy consumption trends in the datacentre were important issues to address as the introduction of the Carbon Tax meant businesses could no longer overlook the increases in energy costs.
“On-site generation as a complement to the electrical grid is increasingly financially viable when supported by grants, feed-in-tariffs, tax incentives, the sale of renewable energy certificates or their equivalent, and so on,” Sargeant said.
Having treated energy as a “fixed and relatively low operational cost” for many years, Sargeant sees many industrial, commercial and public sectors having limited energy management capabilities when faced with the current situation.
“They frequently lack granular data related to how and where energy is being consumed around the enterprises, often not even beyond the utility bill,” he said. “The capabilities they do have are frequently at a local level and are often patchy.”
This long history of complacency means that organisations do not have the sufficient process, systems, roles or expertise to oversee energy consumption with the goal of optimising demand and supply across the whole enterprise.
Wayland supported this view and said the channel should consider how to purchase electricity not just in terms of Carbon Tax being bundled into it, but by deconstructing the energy bills.
“Clients might not be aware that there are other alternatives. It’s the channel’s value to help them sift through that and build a green and sustainable policy around it to fit their capital and expense budget,” he concluded.
Chief technology and innovation officer of integration and solutions company CSC, Bob Hayward, said in a report, Top 10 Technology Trends: Enterprise IT in 2012, while IT sustainability is no longer on the agenda for many businesses following the global financial uncertainty. But the introduction of the Carbon Tax scheme will force businesses to take it seriously.
He said initiatives such as the Mandatory Energy Performance and Government-led product stewardship will place more importance on sustainability.
The report showed that in 2012, IT will enable the deployment of better tools necessary for comprehensive reports on energy consumption by businesses, and pursuing developments in energy, ethical waste removal and water use.
“The visibility and urgency of electricity spending — especially in Australia, where the public grid energy is almost entirely produced from coal — will rapidly rise up the corporate hierarchy,” Hayward said.
The report revealed that the use of energy in IT is projected to grow by four times between now and 2020.
“But the IT systems deployed in areas such as smart grids, intelligent buildings, optimised supply chains and fleet management should help offset energy use as they utilise improved efficiencies across industries and economies,” he said.