Omdia survey suggests data centers can help the electric grid with sustainable energy

Omdia survey suggests data centers can help the electric grid with sustainable energy

A new survey by research group Omdia has suggested data center operators will deploy uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that will be able to interact with the electric grid and support essential energy-management initiatives by 2026. These capabilities will be particularly important for the deployment of edge data centers, which will be more numerous and distributed compared to traditional data centers.

According to the survey, as renewable energy applications grow within the data center industry, companies are increasingly looking at developing solutions aimed at integrating them within more dynamic electric grids. The findings in the Omdia UPS Intelligence Service report included data from nearly 380 respondents, including data center operators, engineering, architecture and consulting firms as well as utility companies across North America, Europe and Australia.

Omdia believes such solutions will be based on data centers increasing the reliability of the electric grid by allowing it access to a part of their backup power systems.

Through this interaction between UPS and the electric grid, data centers can become more aware of the amount and timing of a facilities’ energy consumption, thus contributing to the deployment of more sustainable operations.

“[This integration can] smooth out the unpredictability of renewable resources, balancing energy supply and demand, and to reduce or defer electric grid infrastructure investment,” explained Omdia’s Principal Analyst Moises Levy.

“Manufacturers like Eaton, Schneider Electric, and Vertiv are already offering UPSs with these capabilities,” he noted.

This trend seems to be reinforced by the fact that the majority of respondents in the survey said that they were confident that using smart grid-ready UPS would not put their mission-critical workloads at risk.

About 80% of those surveyed also said they believed between 10 and 50% of the capacity of batteries in the data center today is excess and could be potentially used to support the electric grid.

In terms of verticals, the survey suggested that cloud service providers are the one most likely to benefit from the technology.

“The data center 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 centers are already a force for good which is making the world more sustainable,” said Omdia Research Director Vlad Galabov.

“With emergence and proliferation of smart grid ready UPS technology data centers are enabling an even more sustainable world,” Galabov concluded.

The new Omdia report follows another one published in August 2021 and commissioned by Sunlight.io about the challenges of deploying applications at the edge.

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