With many data centres sceptical about the benefits of UPS battery storage, we argue it’s time for a shift in mindset.
For mission-critical organisations, minimised downtime is the be all and end all. Concepts such as demand side response (DSR) – where ‘rewards’ are offered to adapt energy consumption – might sound good in principle. But in practice, why do anything which might undermine resilience?
For Leo Craig, this is an attitude that needs to change. The ailing National Grid needs help to keep up with increased demand. And battery storage promises environmental and economic benefits for businesses.
The Riello UPS General Manager outlined this view to quarterly publication Data Centre Management (DCM). He explains why the broadening availability and reduced cost of lithium-ion batteries makes energy storage a more viable prospect for data centre managers.
What Is Battery Storage?
Li-ion batteries offer several advantages compared to the more commonly found sealed lead-acid versions. They take up less than half the space. They can operate safely in significantly higher temperatures (40oC compared to 20-25oC). And they have up to 50 times the life cycle, while they also recharge quicker too.
Although initial costs for Li-ion remain higher, their longer lifespan means that total cost of ownership (TCO) can be significantly less over the course of a decade.
These characteristics enable a UPS battery to generate and store renewable energy. This is a step-change from their traditional role of simply acting as an emergency backup. This electricity can be used instead of mains supply during peak, more expensive periods. Selling surplus power back to the National Grid generates additional revenues.
While for some organisations it could enable them to go off grid completely, with on-site ‘behind the meter’ generation giving them complete control of their energy needs.
Battery Storage Creates A ‘Virtual Power Plant’
Leo highlights Riello UPS’s recent work with DSR aggregator KiWi Power, where stored battery power helps run their office in London. Multi Sentry UPSs were programmed with several special software commands, with a bespoke microgrid management system selecting whether the site runs off mains or battery supply based on real-time data analysis.
The feature also touches on research from the Government’s National Infrastructure Commission. According to their stats, the UK will be deploying 15 GWh of battery power by 2030.
Read the full article about UPS battery storage in the autumn edition of DCM