Helsinki Data Centre to be connected to Finnish electricity market

Fortum and Telia have signed a collaboration agreement to connect the Helsinki Data Center (HDC) to the electricity market. Through the collaboration, HDC’s Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) systems, manufactured by ABB, will take part in balancing production and consumption fluctuations in the electricity market. 

The number of data centres in the Nordic countries is expected to increase significantly in the upcoming years, so it is important that data centres operate as eco-consciously as possible and have the ability to be active participants in the energy system. 

Ilari Alaperä, business development manager at Fortum, said: “The Fortum Spring virtual battery solution is cost efficient. The solution utilises the customer’s existing assets to support the power grid without jeopardising the main purpose of the equipment — securing the supply of power for critical processes. This enables a return on investments that traditionally have not generated a positive cash flow. At the same time, we are driving the development of the Nordic electricity system towards a cleaner future.” 

In a normal situation, the power from the batteries of the HDC’s UPS equipment is used in the balancing of the power grid. If a power outage or other exceptional situation occurs, the batteries will still be used to cover the data centre’s electricity demand before the back-up power generators start operating. The deployment and testing of the system took place in the summer; since the end of summer, Telia’s data centre has contributed several megawatts of capacity to Fingrid’s Fast Frequency Reserve (FFR) market as part of the Fortum Spring’s virtual battery. 

Electricity production and consumption must be in balance at all times. The increasing production volume of intermittent renewable energy, like wind and solar power, creates challenges for the grid. Traditional production forms can help to accommodate the changes in electricity production and demand, but other means are also needed. UPS systems and their batteries offer very quick regulating power, and they are an ideal fit for the power reserve maintained by Fingrid. Power can be drawn from the batteries in milliseconds without any delays. If a major disruption occurs in the balancing of the grid, Telia’s UPS equipment will respond within a few hundred milliseconds and help in recovery from the disruption. 

“Utilising HDC’s UPS equipment in the electricity market is an important part of a modern data centre and the mitigation of environmental impacts. By participating in the reserve market, we can promote more renewable energy by providing support to the power grid,” said development manager, Harri Vilonen, from Telia. 

“This is what responsibility is all about. The uses of the technology are expanded and more benefits are gained from a single investment,” noted Leila Podduikin, sales director, Telia Helsinki Data Center. 

“It is great that we have green electricity in Finland, and its support is ensured also in this kind of innovative way. Here at Telia Helsinki Data Center, our activities are strongly driven by green values and the modern technology epitomised in these kinds of projects – thus enabling us to be part of an important solution to securing renewable electricity.” 

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