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UK gov holds talks with data centres to avoid winter outages

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

The UK government has held discussions with data centre operators about using diesel fuel to keep facilities running if needed during the winter energy crisis, according to reports.

Bloomberg has reported that government officials are considering allocating diesel for backup generators if the National Grid needed to cut power, as well as whether data centres should be designated as critical national infrastructure (CNI).

Data centre operators involved in the talks have reportedly requested that the government allows sites to start up diesel generators 15 minutes before an expected blackout to allow a safer transference of power, as well as potentially using data centre backup systems as part of demand side response to ease pressure on the grid at peak times.

Matthew Evans, Markets Director at techUK, told Bloomberg: “Our members have taken all necessary precautions by filling up their reserves, but we need to see government take necessary measures to ensure a continuous supply in the unlikely event of prolonged blackouts.”

Earlier this year, the DCMS called for a consultation with data centre operators, seeking to increase the security and resilience of UK data centres and online cloud platforms.

The UK is facing an energy crisis due to insufficient supply caused by the war in Ukraine. With the National Grid claiming data centres are responsible for 2.5% of the UK’s electricity consumption, John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid, previously warned that electricity and gas may be switched off during “those deepest, darkest evenings in January and February” if the UK can’t draw enough supply from Europe this winter.

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