Grid instability continues to jeopardise energy security for European data centres

A new research report has mapped out temporary opportunities for facility stakeholders in major European data centre markets to maintain site resilience in a challenging climate.

Titled ‘Uptime on the Linethe new two-part whitepaper from Aggreko interviewed 700 data centre professionals consulting for large businesses in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. It sought insight on topics including the state of current grid infrastructure, power outages, local energy prices and supply chain delays, and how these are affecting facility construction and operations.

The report’s findings also map out how the sector’s soaring energy consumption rate is affecting its ability to put in place long-term strategies alongside short-term solutions to counteract further uncertainty and incoming stricter regulations. According to Billy Durie, Global Sector Head – Data Centres at Aggreko, the respondents’ views demonstrate how there are tactical opportunities to help manage energy and temperature control in today’s facilities.

“Data centre demand is constantly increasing, yet utility provision needed to service this new development pipeline is currently under strain,” said Billy. “Keeping new and existing facilities online during this continued expansion are therefore priorities of global importance, so it is vital conversations occur on the best way to deliver power and temperature control to sites.

“Resilience is being tested by events outside the sector’s control, including volatile energy pricing, extreme weather conditions, high consumption rates and a degraded supply chain. As this report demonstrates, old certainties such as being able to keep server halls online more than 99 per cent of the time are now in jeopardy, meaning operators will need to explore new approaches to mitigate risks.”

With these concerns in mind, the report identifies tactical short-term solutions and more strategic, long-term options to address common obstacles for data centre professionals. This includes insufficient grid power, outages from ageing equipment, adopting demand side response schemes and fluctuating heat and power requirements.

“Today’s pressures are so significant that businesses could begin to lose sight of the longer-term view, especially in a sector dominated by short-term deadlines,” Billy concluded. “However, equipment is available today that can help lower dependency on the grid while addressing other key issues such as decarbonisation. Yet integrating decentralised energy plans poses unique issues that require expert supplier assistance to simplify and navigate.

“On-site generation, implemented with hired equipment strategies explored in this latest report, can therefore present huge opportunities for data centres, which are synonymous with high energy consumption rates. Identifying the correct equipment approach will be key to weathering growing macro issues around energy and temperature control provision, so it is crucial data centre stakeholders work closely with equipment experts to do so.”

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