How to Become a Green Storage Provider

Filecoin is on its way to becoming carbon neutral at the node level thanks to initiatives fostered by Filecoin Green. The community is developing Web3-native tools that bring transparency and accountability to the network’s energy consumption and environmental impact. Gathering this information may enable future incentives to be designed and drive participants in Filecoin’s island economy towards more sustainable network operations.

Of course, all these efforts have to start with Storage Providers (SPs). The SP ecosystem is the engine of the Filecoin Network and where most of its energy consumption happens. In order to provide Storage Power, SPs must set up operations that not only use electricity to store data but also to seal it through a computationally-intensive process that ensures its redundancy and persistence.

Luckily, the cryptographic primitives used in the Filecoin Network can also be applied to these operations to measure and, ultimately, make them more sustainable in verifiable ways. Let’s take a look at how SPs can become greener with the tools, resources, and programs made available by Filecoin Green.

What Defines a Green SP?

Green SPs are those that align with the decarbonization goals proposed by the Filecoin Green Pledge. Adhering to the Pledge means that Storage Providers are committed to:

  • 80% renewable electricity procurement by EOFY 2023
  • 100% renewable electricity procurement by EOFY 2025
  • Maintaining 100% renewable electricity procurement on a continuous basis from thereon

There are two main practices that allow them to play their part in meeting these goals. The first is the implementation of a comprehensive system of accounting for carbon emissions. Second, SPs must use renewable energy sources to maintain their operations.

Carbon Accounting

The carbon accounting methodology proposed by Filecoin Green aligns with and builds upon the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This means that SPs are responsible for their direct and indirect carbon emissions as well as many of the indirect emissions of their supply chains. To take these into account they must determine their operational boundaries, obtain activity data, choose their electricity emission factor, and match this factor with their electricity consumption.

A detailed explanation of these steps and how to calculate emissions according to different approaches is available in the Filecoin Green Documentation. SPs also have an important tool at their disposal known as the Filecoin Green Dashboard that allows them to estimate their power use according to a robust methodology.

Renewable Energy Procurement

Once an SP is able to determine the environmental impact of its operations, the next necessary step is to reduce and compensate for it. This can be achieved via different ways of obtaining their energy from renewable sources, some of which are preferred over others.

In every case, however, the process should be credible and result in the mitigation of energy grid emissions. SPs should also seek to source their energy needs from either geothermal, solar, sustainably sourced biomass, hydropower, or wind energy sources.

Certain renewable energy sourcing methods are preferred by Filecoin Green and are sorted by their effectiveness in reducing emissions. These are self-generation, direct procurement such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) purchases, and green electricity products such as Green Tariffs (GTs).

Likewise, the credibility of an SP’s renewable energy procurement claims is determined by a series of requirements. These include verified generation data, exclusive ownership of attributes and certificates associated with generation, and their purchase from markets in the same geographic region. More information on these requirements can be found in the RE100 paper on making renewable electricity usage claims.

Different Tiers of Sustainability

After following these practices, an SP will be able to begin making Sustainability Claims via submissions to the Filecoin Green Reporting Portal. These claims are classified into three tiers according to their granularity and rigor in reporting information around audited approximate location, energy consumption, water usage, renewable production data, and additional operational metrics.

  • Bronze: match their energy consumption to renewable energy (EACs) on an annual basis or evidence of green products from their energy supplier.
  • Silver: match their energy consumption to renewable energy (EACs) on a quarterly basis and match hardware embodied emissions to high-quality carbon credits such as removals or offsets.
  • Gold: match every unit of electricity consumed with either onsite renewable energy generation or PPAs and green certificates, and match hardware embodied emissions to high-quality carbon credits such as removals or offsets.

Why Become a Green SP?

SPs who qualify for either of these tiers can potentially benefit from different programs. Filecoin Green is actively working with SPs to better define incentives that can support the efforts of decarbonizing the network.

At the moment, verified renewable energy purchases are tracked on the online transparency tool, known as FilRep. Renewable energy purchases are not yet factored into the reputation score, but may be included at some future date. The reputation score helps Data Owners make informed decisions on which Storage Provider to to store their data with.

There are existing discussions around further incentivizing SPs, which in the future could allow them to earn extra rewards on the network.

Learn More

You can participate in the ongoing conversations around what it means to be a green SP, how to become one, and how it may benefit your operations. Many of these discussions take place in the Work Groups in the Filecoin Slack.

Additionally, be sure to learn more about Filecoin Green’s Green Grants program designed to support projects working on reforestation, carbon credits, carbon negative solutions, and biodiversity monitoring and reporting.

Filecoin is an open-source cloud storage marketplace, protocol, and incentive layer.
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