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Data centres set to adopt smart grid ready UPSs, suggests research

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Data centre operators are ready to embrace grid-interactive UPS initiatives within the next four years in a move to support a smarter, greener grid, according to new research by Omdia.

The UPS systems powering data centres could be an ideal solution to the intermittent nature of renewable energy, providing extra capacity to a more dynamic grid when power is most in demand.   

“The integration of renewable energy into the smart electric grid can benefit from smart grid ready UPS, to smooth out the unpredictability of renewable resources, balancing energy supply and demand, and to reduce or defer electric grid infrastructure investment,” said Moises Levy, PhD, Principal Analyst and lead of Omdia’s data centre power, cooling and sustainability research practice.

What’s more, major manufacturers within the industry, like Eaton, Schneider Electric, and Vertiv, are already offering UPSs with these capabilities, he added.

The concern associated with these types of grid-interactive initiatives is that they could pose a risk to the mission critical workloads of the data centre, kept online by the UPS. However, the research undertaken by Omdia has indicated that data centre operators are increasingly open to the idea of upgrading their current systems to smart grid ready UPSs in order to support energy management strategies.

Omdia surveyed roughly 380 respondents, which included data centre operators, engineering, architecture and consulting firms, as well as utility companies, across North America, the Nordics, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, and Australia.

The study revealed that 80% of respondents believed there was spare capacity that could be used to support the grid – and importantly, the majority were also confident that using smart grid ready UPS would not endanger critical loads.

Omdia also claims that the Nordics, UK and Ireland are currently front of the pack in terms of the number of UPS with capabilities to interact with the grid being deployed.

“The data centre industry is the backbone of the digital economy and has enabled significant efficiencies in how we conduct business, communicate with one another, and develop innovative technologies. From this perspective the data centres are already a force for good which is making the world more sustainable. With emergence and proliferation of smart grid ready UPS technology, data centres are enabling an even more sustainable world,” added Vlad Galabov, Research Director at Omdia’s Cloud and Data Centre Research Practice.

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