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How advanced Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) technologies are turning UK data centres from energy villains to heroes

Increased electrification will have a severe negative impact on the environment in the UK if key sectors don’t find a way to balance the growing demand for energy with increased adoption of renewables.

Renewable energy sources now provide one-third of the world’s power, and this is set to rise further. However, renewables are volatile by nature and require close management on the grid, meaning we often rely on fossil fuels to maintain system balance.

But this is where the large electrical capacity of a data centre can step in. By deploying UPS technology, large data centre operators can be compensated for immediate adjustments to power consumption that help the grid avoid power outages. The system puts data centres in control of their energy by allowing operators to choose how much capacity to offer, when, and at what price, while helping grid operators balance sustainable energy sources.

By using its energy reserves to account for the variability of renewables, data centres can help to manage sudden disturbances in energy production that might compromise the grid. This balancing act can therefore allow for the increased adoption of renewables, and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.

Beyond contributing to the increase of renewable energy sources by stabilising the grid, certain advanced UPS devices can be a value-generating asset. Major UPS users can be financially compensated for immediate adjustments to power consumption that help the grid avoid power outages, without compromising service levels.

Janne Paananen, Technology Manager at Eaton

“Moving to a future centred on renewable energy is necessary to reduce the effects of climate change. As we expect an increase in electricity consumption, it is increasingly clear that new technologies will be the core drivers of a green energy boom.

“Data centres are crucial to the running of our digital environments, creating a unique opportunity to use this role to help stabilise the grid and encourage greater renewable energy uptake whilst maintaining functionality.

“Although data centres consume electrical energy, they also hold the key to overcoming decarbonisation challenges. It is their ability to leverage new technologies, like advanced UPS systems, to simultaneously reduce power failures and carbon energy usage that makes data centres part of the solution and not part of the problem. With the support of data centre operators and the electrical utility industry, the data centre power network can pivot to boost renewable energy usage and set us on the right path to a carbon-neutral future – despite the boom in human data consumption.”