GEP for Super Green Farming with 100% Renewable Energy

Ok I understand. So if there is no wind anywhere in your area you will probably be relying on other sources of energy (energy mix, meaning also carbon based). Vattenfall will most likely buy certificates of origin to try and compensate this. That means that they pay some producer of sustainable electricity money for their certificates (certificate trading). Those producers are most likely located in another country. This can be considered green washing, as it simply dislocates the problem to somewhere else.

To simplify: If there is no wind blowing, you cannot run on wind power.

There are potential solutions Vattenfall could have implemented, like having solar AND biogas nearby in order to guarantee 100% physically green energy. It’s pretty unlikely that they do this, as certificate trading is much easier and often cheaper. But I very much hope you are right. Maybe you can go ahead and ask them how exactly they source their energy?

So essentialy you’re saying Vattenval is lying about there wind energy? It’s one of the biggest in the Netherlands it would be a huge thing if that’s the case.

About this:

If my contract states “100% green energy”. if that’s not enough for this GEP i really don’t understand what is. If we can’t trust the words a contract states it’s not gonna be easy to check people on this GEP actually nearly impossible.

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All of the big players in the European Energy market rely on certificate trading to claim that they can deliver green energy, even in times when no green energy is produced anywhere nearby. Its more about obscuring how energy markets and electricity grids really work than about lying.

Green energy on paper is not the same as 100% physically green energy. I know this is kind of hard to grasp but that is exactly the reason why they do it. 97% of people will never spend enough time with this topic to ever realise the difference (very understandable). One of them is very good for the environment (phyiscally green energy) the other is (for the most part) only good for marketing.

Another reason why I want 3Nodes to use physically green energy, is that workloads can be dynamically scaled up and down according to the availability of sustainable power. By doing this energy intensive workloads can be executed when more and cheaper green power is being fed into the energy grid, making the entire workload execution much more green and efficient, even from a financial standpoint.

I think the explanation of this guy can help understand the issue better. He even gives a good example how energy in the Netherlands may not be as green as claimed (only 2 minutes to watch).

Personally I’d rather see the ThreeFold community do it the right way from the very beginning and live up to its planet positive core values. That’s why I created this GEP. Others may see it differently and make their own proposals. Isn’t that the beauty of this project?

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We are a very long way from the proposed idea of workloads being able to shift around the world following available energy, there is no way currently for a workload created on one farm to move to another even upon user direction, let alone by an automated mechanism.

I very much appreciate what you are saying about the classification system being flawed from the get go, but how do you propose we constantly verify the source electricity in 100s of farms all around the world if we are going to reject all existing certification information?

What is being proposed here is a really cool idea, but your also talking about creating something that is in itself more complicated then the entire grid up to this point.

I agree with you that this problem is not an easy one to solve. I do think there are potential solutions though. Let me try to elaborate…

Structuring systems and workloads in a way that makes in possible to follow energy availability

Obviously not all types of workloads are suited for this kind of location independent execution. And those that are may have to be somewhat adapted. This is especially true when data has to be replicated across various nodes in different regions of the world. There is a reason why engineers that deploy solutions using container orchestration systems such as kubernetes often seperate data storage from workload execution. Keeping data synchronized across multiple locations is no simple task.

So what if we do the same on the ThreeFold grid? Let’s start very simple. Data storage could be handled by a conventional 3Node (e.g. Gold Farming certified) hosted in a DC environment with 99.98% uptime. Further elaborating on the kubernetes example, the master node could live in the same DC, while multiple super green worker nodes (each having sustainable energy available 90% or more of the time) can be spread out over different locations. A load balancer evenly distributes work to the worker nodes, making sure that demand is met. When some nodes go offline or don’t have sustainable sources of power available, the load balancer will simply not assign any work to those nodes. Those nodes could then potentially be powered down completely, but if thats not feasible they could run idle with much lower power consumption on backup batteries. Once the wind starts blowing or the sun comes up, their workload execution can continue and their backup batteries can charge back up. Depending on the type of workload lot’s of data may have to be sent back and forth between worker nodes and the central data storage, but that is achievable if the worker nodes have a high enough bandwidth. Luckily most locations that have wind turbines also have fibre optics nearby (at least in our case, but I assume its the same for others). Since energy production of wind turbines is predictable it is possible to shift data around hours in advance so that everything is ready for execution at a different location when green power production drops to zero. A downside is that capacity consumers (developers using the grid) would potentially have to “rent” more nodes to meet the same availability, but this could be offset by giving them discounts whenever they run on super green nodes.

Too complicated? Ok sure, that really is a lot of work and not everyone will have the capacity, willingness and skills to structure their systems this way. For those that do, I’d love for them to be able to. The TF-Grid and Z-OS can be of immense help, if the technology can be tweaked according (or somewhat similar) to my original suggestions in this GEP.

Reducing complexity by running stateless workloads

Making workloads follow availability of sustainable energy can be achieved much easier when workloads are stateless. Let’s ask ChatGPT for some examples as I’ve already spent too much time writing this.

Sweet, I like this list of examples. Precious time saved. I personally would like to add crypto mining to this list, as therein lies the reason why I got started thinking about these kinds of problems in the first place.

The future has to be as efficient and sustainable as possible and I strongly believe ThreeFold can be the base infrastructure to make it happen. Directly giving farmers incentives to power their nodes sustainably can make this transformation happen much faster. There is also so much potential for optimization, such as having a load balancer direct most of the work to those worker nodes that have the highest amount of green energy production in their immediate location (to not take it away from others that may need it) while also considering the current local price per kWh.

Apologies for the long post, but this topic really gets me started every time. :smile:

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That’s a valid point. I do have some ideas. They are not perfect but could work to some degree.
Let me think about it some more and come back to you!

Making Green Farming available to more people
I believe there are a couple of things that need to be considered when thinking about how we could make more sustainable farming accessible to people around the globe. In the past I’ve mostly looked at this from my own perspective. But of course not everyone has access to their own wind turbines, solar panels, certified electric meters and a private power grid all together. While I still believe having sustainable energy on a physical level is by far the most environmentally friendly solution and should be incentivised and supported as much as possible, I do agree with @ParkerS who has rightfully pointed out, some already existing classification systems also need to be part of the solution.

There are many different classification systems implemented all over the world. None of them are perfect and comparing them can be a tedious task, but maybe we could all agree on some minimum requirements that a given system should fulfil in order to qualify. I will make some suggestions, the details are of course up for debate.

Minimum Requirements for participating as Green Farmers

  1. There must be a measurable and significant planet positive impact. This means simple guarantees of origin alone are not enough, as those by themselves can easily be exploited resulting in nothing else than green washing. For example within Europe it is very cheap to make coal energy “green” on paper and sell it as such, by purchasing guarantees of origins from hydropower plants in Norway. It costs only a fraction of the energy itself to get these certificates, but doing so does not incentivise increased production of renewable energy anywhere.

  2. The money that is paid for the electricity to run Green 3Nodes must directly or indirectly incentivise investments in sustainable energy plants so that more green energy will be available in the future. That means that if the majority of the profit that is generated by the sale of the electricity goes into the pockets of conventional energy producers it will not be considered as green.

  3. Electricity providers (the ones farmers pay their bills to) that deliver power for green 3Nodes may not participate or make any investments in projects that produce electricity from conventional non renewable energy sources.

  4. Accepted classification- and certification systems for sustainable electricity must have certain standards of transparency, so that independent people and organisations are enabled to verify their claimed planet positive impact. Claims that cannot be checked for their validity are empty claims.

Some concrete examples of how certification systems can qualify

  • The energy provider actually buys electricity from a renewable energy generation plant for its green energy customers. This can also be done through an intermediary. So, the electricity and the proof of origin come from the same renewable power plants.

  • A fixed amount per kilowatt hour flows into new renewable power plants, innovative energy projects such as energy storage or smart grids, or into increasing energy efficiency. With this, green energy customers support environmentally sound projects that often would not be realized for purely economic reasons.

  • The classification system is structured in a way, that makes it possible to prove that at least as much renewable energy is produced within the physically connected grid every quarter hour, as the end customers consume at the same time. This one is by far the hardest to achieve.

The requirements that I proposed will make sure that any given and recognized certification system for green farming will have a minimum level of planet positive impact. While energy will most likely not be 100% sustainable on a physical level, at least it will benefit the planet by making sure more green energy will be produced in the future. At the same time more farmers can participate in this, as there are already certification systems out there that fulfil the minimum requirements that I proposed. For example in Germany we have the Grüner Strom label (english website), OK-Power or TÜV-Süd EE02. I am sure many other countries have their own labels with similar standards.
Which ones are accepted for green farming and thus receive higher farming rewards as well as potentially increased utilization due to demand for green cloud computing resources (it exists) will eventually have to be decided by the DAO. I am happy to assist in analyzing and evaluating any certifications that farmers want to have checked for qualification.

Additional adjustments for Super Green Farmers that use 100% physically green energy
Exclusively powering 3Nodes using physically sustainable energy is much harder to achieve than relying on the public grid with electricity of mixed origin and it’s certification systems. At the same time, the way our energy grids are currently structured, it is almost impossible to reach uptimes of more than 90% using renewables alone. There are simply not enough large scale energy storages included in our grids yet. Of course farmers could deploy larger quantities of battery backups themselves, but that would not be the best and certainly not most sustainable solution in my opinion. Instead I once more suggest to lower the uptime requirements for farmers using physically green energy. Uptime data is recorded anyway and it could be presented very publicly for super green nodes on the UI such as the playground, so that capacity consumers on the grid know what they are getting into.
The farmerbot with it’s power management features that is currently being tested on dev-net can be of great help in this endeavor. It can automatically power nodes down and bring them back to life in order to greatly decrease power consumption for under-utilized nodes. The same basic functionality could potentially be used to power nodes down in times of limited availability of sustainable power and bring them back up as soon as green power becomes available again. Depending on the individual circumstances some amount of backup batteries would still have to be deployed. At least enough to power servers down safely, which should not occur more than 0-2 times a day if implemented the right way. On many days of the year there is enough wind to reach an uptime of 100%, especially when combined with solar power and other renewables (hydro being a completely different story).
Of course some minimum monthly uptime still needs to be guaranteed. I originally suggested 90% as this is something that can realistically be achieved, while still giving users enough uptime to deploy a range of suitable workloads. For the real experts out there a combination of gold certified and geographically distributed super green nodes in conjunction with tools such as Kubernetes could even result in highly available and more sustainable IT-Systems.

Potential bonus idea for the future: Using Blockchain to track production and consumption of renewable energy. There are several companies working on this, but thus far I’ve not gotten deep enough into the topic. Example to be found here and some more insight here. Let me know if you think this could be a good potential solution in the future regarding green farming. I’ll try to educate myself further, but for now let’s bring this post to an end.

With the proposed changes to my original GEP draft I hope to enable more people to partake in more sustainable farming (let’s call it green farming) while still preserving the original idea with 100% physically renewable energy, which could be labeled Super Green Farming.

Thanks for staying with me in this long post. Please feel free to comment, criticize and chip in. Especially if you are interested in participating as a green or even super green farmer yourself.

This is incredible work Jakub and I absolutely adore your no compromises approach to the topic it really makes you fantastic advocate for everything green farming related.

As a concept, I think this is very cool, but it worries me how complex it is, In general I think the push from the overall community is to remove as much complexity as possible and even before we consider the implications of trying to the implement the technology portion of this we have multiple layers that will Require entire systems to be built/possible new staffed roles.

I think we should start looking at the technology side of this, as it stands even if someone were to get this certification, we don’t have a realistic solution for using that capacity without major configuration by the user.

The first thing that comes to mind for a starting point with tech that could work well would be https load balancers or serving static files.

So let’s take the Threefold manual for example, it’s just text presented on a page, there won’t be any changes being made actively once the current version is hosted, so it doesn’t matter what copy of information gets served.

So if we had 2/3 super green farms a user could host their load balancers and data on multiple green nodes and let’s dns records and the load balancers handle serving it up from whatever is up.

This brings in another problem, deploying like this is going to expensive, if I have two nodes with unpredictable uptime, two isn’t going to be enough I’m going to need 3-4 to ensure the page gets served.

——-

Now, to solve this problem I think the recent farmer boy offers an option. I’m curious if it would be doable to treat all the farmer bots in super green farms as a single resource, so that something like grid scheduler could just choose a node that’s up to a host a workload

Hi @jakubprogramming

Interesting update on Green Farming, included the new possibilities with Farmerbot.

@ParkerS
I think you have a great direction, in aiming to find use cases, on such green farms. I went on the TF Forum to post the following, and by reading your idea, I think they are very much compatible!

“The first thing that comes to mind for a starting point with tech that could work well would be https load balancers or serving static files.”

That sounds like a plan!

Also, I would propose this “Solution Provider + Commercial Grid Service + Green Farming Alliance” Idea. Note that it’s in point form to show the overall idea. I’ll get into details if people seem interested.

  • General Idea

    • green farming
      • 2 or more green farms, with or without 100% uptime, distributed across the globe
      • the sum of all farms’ uptimes gives 100% uptime
      • main product offering: qsfs storage
        • for archive, qsfs-optimal data, etc.
        • easy deployment to copy only needed files then create a new qsfs and erase the last
      • other possible product offering: https load balancers or serving static files (see Drew’s comment above)
    • qsfs storage goal: similar user experience as from other companies, but with the added benefits of qsfs
  • TF qsfs company, client vision

    • client: order qsfs on the company’s website
    • the company take the fiat, buy tft, deploy and give credentials to the client (log in, etc.)
    • the client store their data in the qsfs system (user-friendly)
    • when the client wants to make a new copy with only the needed information (always-append leftovers), there is an easy option to copy to another qsfs deployment and erase the older one
  • TF qsfs company, company vision

    • the company takes orders online, and dispatches the qsfs needs over the planet in green farms (green energy source, but perhaps not 100% uptime)
    • the company can have 100% uptime with the 16+4 qsfs system
      • the 16+4 3nodes are dispersed in a way to have 100% uptime
  • TF qsfs company, farmer vision

    • the company deploys on associated green farms
      • the green farms are included in the solution
        • i.e. they are part of the solution provider
    • the result: farmers get tft rewards for utilization, on their green farm, since they are a part of the solution provider
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I dont think this would be a good use of qsfs, even though it is capable of rebuilding shards, we don’t want to make it do that intentionally.

Qsfs still needs highly available host, data transfer takes time and uses resources. Think of it like having a raid 10 you just plan to pull a disk out of every few days, not something you want to do.

I guess if someone was okay just not having access to their data for unpredictable amounts of time that could work, there’s really very few applications being very basic things like proxies that will function in this setting.

Had another thought, most farmers aren’t running servers or large farms, I could easily create a super green farm by mounting panels to shed, a few batteries and I think I could easily 100% uptime for just the nodes.

The equation gets a whole heck of a lot simpler when you consider powering just 5 65w devices a modem and a router, possibly a small portal ac or heater.

Some could easily create a self contained rack, that entire farm is super green, but their home isn’t. This could probably even be done completely off grid. Off I go to shop for panels.?

Thanks for your great contributions to the thread thus far guys. I like where the discussion is going.
I will give it some more time before jumping back into it here. There has also been a vivid discussion on the Farmers Chat on Telegram. I will think about it some more and try to aggregate the main points.

For now let’s see if others want to bring in their wisdom first.

You are right a certain amount of configuration will be required by the user. I don’t think this is a deal breaker though. Running workloads on (super)-green infrastructure is something that I believe mostly business and larger scale customers will be interested in initially. After all it’s them that can best leverage this for marketing and their public image. Also they will have the resources and IT-professionals to do their own configuration.

Once it’s possible to deploy something on super green nodes, we could work on making it more accessible for smaller customers. I could imagine actively seeking out gold certified farmers (or setting up a gold certified farm myself) and working on a new version of the current K3s based kubernetes weblet, that would allow to deploy a workload on multiple super green nodes as the worker nodes, and a central gold certified node as the master/main node easily from within the browser. That obviously would take a developing effort. But we are willing to expand and even hire people to get it done, once the basic infrastructure allows for it. If not we will do it anyway but we will have to rely on other another base infrastructure & tech stack (unfortunately).

For simple green farming that relies on existing certification systems such as Grüner Strom this shouldn’t be too hard. Farmers could just use their electricity bill to proof this.

For super green farmers yes. It’s not as easy and will probably have to be decided on a case by case basis. As I’ve discussed in a call with @weynandkuijpers to get started we may actually rely on a bit of trust. Maybe a certain reputation within the community will be needed and after some more super green farmers have joined they could potentially verify each other. I don’t expect the ThreeFold foundation to do all of this work. After all we are a decentralized movement, aren’t we?

Yes if anything close to 100% uptime is desired at least 3 nodes with 90% uptime need to be included.
So if each node has a downtime of 10% (0.1) the calculation is as followed:

P(all offline) = P(server 1 offline) * P(server 2 offline) * P(server 3 offline)
= 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1
= 0.001

Therefore, the percentage of time that all three servers are offline at the same time is 0.1%
Could be good enough for a range of workloads. If not a fourth node could be included.

And yes this could be more expensive for small workloads. But if we think about how highly distributed systems can be managed today, this becomes insignificant. What I mean is, if I use 10-20 different servers/nodes for my workload anyway, I don’t care if one, two or three of them go offline for a bit.

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I think this is a great idea. In general, usage and deployments on super green nodes with limited availability should probably be managed in a more professional way. A commercial grid service in combination with the solution provider concept could allow for a solid system with benefits for all participants. Also Green Farming Alliance sounds like something I would be proud to be part of :muscle::earth_asia:
Obviously I am interested in more details of how this could potentially play out. The current point for, does give a nice general overview of your proposal already though.

I specifically like the different visions you’ve laid out here and I believe there is immense potential.
Especially for QSFS on super green nodes. If enough professional developer support is given, qsfs could be made accessible to everybody in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Extremely safe & reliable storage without fear for data supervision or censorship in combination with the most sustainable and decentralised infrastructure just seems like a perfect match.

I am no expert on in this field, but I believe comparing raid 10 to qsfs in this way is not too useful.
They do work quite differently in regards to how fault tolerance and performance are achieved. For example raid 10 relies on mirroring while qsfs relies on mathematical algorithms.

During the community call last week @scott has assured me in the group chat, that qsfs is well suited to take advantage of storage capacity that is online intermittently. I hope @scott doesn’t mind me posting a screenshot of his statement here (I often keep those kinds of things, usually for personal reference).

image

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I’ve repeatedly seen people on the telegram farmers chat and the forum being worried or confused about what is considered green and what is not green. I kindly invite you once again to join us here in to forum to discuss this. After all my recommendations are only recommendations and are very much up for debate. If you think the way you’ve setup your nodes should be eligible for green or super green farming please let us know here and we can talk about it. In this process please also try to elaborate how running nodes the way you do has a planet positive impact. Personally I’ve put my focus on running nodes using sustainable wind & solar power with intermittent availability. Others may have different ideas for green farming and are welcome to share their ideas.

No worries, and I do stand by the statement, as my untested opinion :slight_smile:

There’s no need to rebuild shards until some threshold of tolerance has been crossed for data availability. In the case of wind/solar powered nodes, you expect they will have some amount of downtime and thus that threshold is higher. It’s also possible to make the reconstruction algorithm smarter for this use case. For example, check if other nodes at the same site have powered on, then conclude that it’s a node failure rather than power outage and prioritize reconstruction.

It’s worth noting here too that “cold” archival data storage can take 48 hours or longer to retrieve data. So there’s definitely a market for low cost and low availability storage.

This is the part of the proposal that I’m most comfortable supporting. Personally, I think that any boost to rewards should come through a utilization booster that is available to everyone. If there is indeed demand for renewable powered IT, then it will pay off for the farmers.

Otherwise, we get mired in a lot of very difficult questions about what is good enough to be “green”. Adding a booster just for electricity type opens the door for farmers to go buy some renewable energy credits/offsets and show up with their receipt asking for the extra TFT. This of course isn’t the intention, and I don’t think the team or the DAO should get caught up in judging where different arrangements fall on the spectrum.

On the other hand, a farming class with 90% uptime requirement for farmers who can show that their nodes are connected directly to a renewable energy source is much simpler. There’s still a small incentive to try to abuse this arrangement, but much less than with boosted rewards.

Hey guys.

Sounds like some progress is being made here!

So as a synthesis,

  • The idea of building a “Solution Provider + Commercial Grid Service + Green Farming Alliance” looks like it would work, for workloads such as QSFS and https load balancers or serving static files. (big thanks to @scott for confirming this)

  • There seem to be a consensus on the suggestion of “lowering the uptime requirements for farmers using physically green energy.” Instead of aiming for “booster rewards” for green farming.


One thing, @jakubprogramming. I am not sure about this calculation:

P(all offline) = P(server 1 offline) * P(server 2 offline) * P(server 3 offline)
= 0.1 * 0.1 * 0.1
= 0.001

This doesn’t take into account the distribution of the farms. For a very simple counter-example, if the 3 farms have their downtime at the same time, it will still be a 10% downtime.

Without going into details, the equation you wrote is more in line with Bernoulli trials.

To be sure we get the highest uptime possible, one would need to select farms that have different moments of downtime. A simple distribution could be having solar farms distributed across the globe. This could lead to higher uptime than, say, solar farms all in France.


One question about the type of green farming: Do we consider it to be green farming if one’s farm is using 100% hydroelectricity?

I would say yes. I’d be curious to see what others think.

That being said, hydroelectricity farms can easily have 100% uptime (mine does :stuck_out_tongue: ).
Still farmers in my situation wouldn’t get anything from the program if we don’t have boosters, but only lower uptime requirement for green farming, since uptime isn’t a problem with hydroelectricity (generally speaking, of course). Not that it’s a problem. I am just observing some facts.


Next steps could be to redact a proposal for lowering downtime for green farming.
And to explore the commercial grid service as proposed above.

Indeed if we’re talking about data someone is okay with it taking 48 hours to be able to retrieve it I guess that’s fine.

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