Ilari Alaperä // May 04 2017

Data centres to drive the energy system forward

As the ratio of renewables in the energy mix increases, balancing supply with consumption will continue to become more demanding.

This increases the need for services such as frequency regulation and balancing power markets. As one of the world’s fastest growing energy consumers, data centres can and should play a significant role in the change.

Free, renewable money for data centres

Data centres tend to have a lot of excess backup energy capacity that typically is not used. These underused assets could be connected to a virtual power plant (an aggregate of different energy resources) to make room for more renewable energy generation by making the consumption more in tune with the new, ever-increasing intermittent supply.

Thus, in addition to environmental impact, making the excess capacity available can create an additional and significant revenue stream for data centre operators. Literally, free money lying on the floor just waiting to be picked up.

Eaton and Spring by Fortum already in action

Spring by Fortum is closely collaborating with one of the world’s leading Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) manufacturers, Eaton, in order to offer demand-response services for the large data centres in Europe. The service enables data centre operators to take full advantage of their excess energy storage capacity in their UPS systems in a smart and green way.

With this close collaboration, we can ensure that UPS systems and their batteries can be safely and effectively used to perform demand-response operations. This means demand-response participation without any risks to the UPS’s primary functionality, which is to ensure the data centres have a continuous and clean supply of power in any situation. The diesel gensets that the data centres typically have can also be connected to the virtual power plant and used when longer activations or additional power is required.

Harnessing the excess reserves for the environment

Data centres can make a giant leap towards a greener and more economical future by harnessing these excess reserves. It will also help their customers’ customers to reach their environmental values and to act more sustainably in their respective markets.

We strongly believe that this is how the whole energy system will work in the future. Join the change for a cleaner world already today.