With the amount of data processed globally continuously increasing, it may seem surprising that energy demand from data centres has remained stable for the past decade. This has been possible by minimising power requirements of non-IT equipment in data centres, leading to a drastic reduction in power usage effectiveness of many centres.
However, as more hyperscale data centres, which can have a demand of over 100 MW, are added to the grid and improvements in energy efficiencies provide fewer opportunities to save energy, we are looking at the role these large energy consumers can play in the energy transition.
The Data Centre World conference gathered thousands of professionals related to the data centre industry providing solutions all the way from IT infrastructure to onsite power solutions. Some of the main takeaways relating to the requirements of data centres and the role these can play in the energy transition are summarised below:
|Data centres require scalability to cope with increased data processing. The difficulty remains in oversizing a system to allow for future increased loads can reduce the energy efficiency of the plant, so a modular approach is desired.|
|As large energy consumers, data centres can be used to provide flexibility services to regulate the grid. As data centres are automatised, their load profiles are changing from a flat power demand to demand peaks during the day.|
|A standardised approach in the design is sought by data centre owners in order to be able to achieve scalability but also to replicate in new emerging territories which do not have the experience of building data centres.|
|Increased resiliency is key to minimising data centre outages, especially in distributed locations, although most outages are now caused due to IT failures rather than power shortages.|
|Increased concern on sustainability, although the interest on this comes from a cost-saving and market advantage perspective. Increased interest in CSR is also present in the data centre world, although this is mostly driven by regulations as most data centre operators will opt for a standardised solution.|
|Energy efficiency is still at the core of all data centre designs. This includes utilising heat to reduce the overall waste of the plant.|
Using our existing knowledge in the distributed power market at Delta-EE, we are currently working on a study on the role gas engines can play in the growing data centre market compared to other competing distributed power technologies. If this is of interest to you, watch this space for further updates regarding our study and feel free to get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this further.