EDITOR ’ S QUESTION
This response has been supplied by the DCA
he cost-of-energy crisis is being compounded by
T greater variability from a higher percentage of renewables as grids transition away from fossil fuels . Instability in pricing and supply inevitably causes larger problems for energy intensive sectors like data centres . While there ’ s an obvious operational challenge to maintaining Business Continuity for clients , there are also financial and reputational challenges to factor in . The data centre sector needs a reliable and affordable energy supply and it also needs to adopt more sustainable energy sources to be good grid citizens .
The sector is looking to flexibility solutions to provide more than simply mitigating rising energy costs . From a cost perspective , participating in capacity markets and demand response schemes to support the grid through volatile periods are revenue sources that can help data centres offset increased commodity costs . By exploiting grid-interactive UPS systems , data centres can offer an innovative and immediate demand response while continuing to guarantee continuity and reliability in their services to customers .
The sector can do more to make a positive contribution to the broader energy crises being felt across energy grids through smarter management and conservation of limited energy resources . Data centres can positively impact a grid stressed through over- or undersupply by offering up their own energy infrastructure to manage demand .
We are seeing this innovation play out in Ireland where Enel X enables data centres to use battery assets to participate in EirGrid ’ s dDS3 system services programme . This is the fastest tier of Ireland ’ s DS3 programme ( Delivering a Secure , Sustainable Electricity System ), an ancillary grid service that stabilises the grid through frequency response , operating and ramping reserves and other mechanisms .
In Dublin , Enel X developed a solution to enable Microsoft ’ s DUB13 data centre to participate in dDS3 . While Microsoft ’ s data centre uses its battery assets in the traditional sense – as an Uninterruptable Power Supply ( UPS ) to ensure its own operational resilience , it also leverages this backup power to help support the wider energy infrastructure .
Battery assets can be used to reduce a data centre ’ s demand on the grid , even when there isn ’ t a power cut . When grid frequency becomes unstable , Enel X ’ s solution engages automatically and incrementally transfers the data centre ’ s power source from the grid to its battery assets based on the real-time needs of the grid . The solution was designed to meet both EirGrid ’ s strict technical specifications as well as Microsoft ’ s Business Continuity and cybersecurity requirements .
For data centres considering whether to postpone their renewable or net zero carbon targets in the light of commodity price volatility , our answer is don ’ t . There are plenty of innovative solutions around to meet immediate challenges in the pricing landscape , but energy reduction and renewables adoption are the best way to ride out price storms in the future . �
DATA CENTRES CAN POSITIVELY IMPACT A GRID STRESSED THROUGH OVER- OR UNDER-SUPPLY BY OFFERING UP THEIR OWN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE TO MANAGE DEMAND .
LUCY PLANT , MANAGER STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS , ENERGY SOLUTIONS AT ENEL X
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