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Technology and power: The energy conundrum

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

The continued confidence in future demand levels in the data centre sector could be hampered by an unavailability of power, according to the latest independent industry survey, which captures the views of over 3,000 senior data centre professionals across Europe, including owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users.

The Summer Report 2021, now in its 14th Year is undertaken by independent research house IX Consulting and commissioned by BCS, (Business Critical Solutions) a specialist services provider to the digital infrastructure industry. It is designed to provide insightful and useful industry information, tracking key trends within the sector and the broader tech industry.

The report highlights some very positive findings with sector demand still on an upward trajectory, with developer and investor respondents being the most positive since the start of this survey.  

However, because of this, we are witnessing a strong growth in the sector with an increase in efficient power infrastructure spending as well as an increase in electricity demand accelerating the emergence of a new electricity intensive industry.

The challenge is increasingly around the availability of power, which remains the most important factor in the decision-making process for a new data centre.

Nearly three-quarters cited this as their number one driving choice in BCS’s latest survey which represents an increase on the 62% who did so last winter.

Indeed, amongst developer and investor respondents the ability to have access to a secure and economic power source is rated even more highly, with around 85% placing it first. 

The desire for efficiency is one of the core tenets for most organisations business plans. Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that faced with rising costs, enterprises will look for efficient solutions to limit their exposure to such increases.

As a result, two-thirds of our respondents believe that an expected rise in power costs in Europe will see demand levels for power efficient data centre space rise over the next three years.

Amongst our service providers, some 76% share this view whilst 84% of developer and investor respondents concur, whilst just 40% of our end-users are in agreement. 

James Hart, CEO at BCS said, “The fortunes of the data centre industry are inextricably linked to the ability to source and utilise power in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

“The impact of power runs across every aspect of the market from informing decisions on data centre site selection, through the design and construction phases and the operation of such facilities.

“With forecast growth for digital services likely to remain substantial, the industry continues to respond to power issues created as a result, with the question of sustainability arguably never so important as it is today. 

“We believe that utilities is a specialist area that is often overlooked, with many organisations unaware of the flexibility that is a result of deregulation and efficiencies which can be as high as 80% with the right solution.

“In response to this we recently launched BCS Utilities, as part of the BCS Group, which operates internationally on offsite utility procurement and delivery strategies, offsite generally referring to the project utility networks adopted, owned and operated by statutory regulated undertakers or third-party independent network providers.”

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