Data Centre Solutions (DCS) UK: Dispelling Data Centre Doubts About DSR

Is it time for data centre managers to look past the perceived risks of demand side response (DSR)?

The National Grid faces a tricky task balancing growing demand for electricity without necessarily ramping up supply. DSR is one of the main methods it uses to try and achieve this task.

logo for data centre solutions (DCS) magazineDemand side response basically ‘rewards’ organisations that shift energy use from busier parts of the day to off-peak times. Energy users can also sell any surplus power back to the National Grid as an additional revenue source.

But as Riello UPS’s Leo Craig explains to Data Centre Solutions (DCS) UK magazine, the data centre sector has shown little enthusiasm for the trend.

Why Are Data Centres Reluctant To Participate In DSR?

Surveys suggest 77% of mission-critical businesses would be interested in DSR, but there’s one major stumbling block. They’d only be willing to do so if there isn’t a detrimental impact to their core activities.

So for a data centre where uptime is the overriding goal, why add in an apparently unnecessary element of risk by using your uninterruptible power supply for anything apart from guaranteeing a reliable backup in case of emergency?

However, the wider availability of lithium-ion (Li-ion) UPS batteries offers a possible solution to this conundrum. Li-ion need less than half the space than traditional sealed lead-acid (SLA) types. So data centre managers can install twice as many, perhaps using one half for battery backup, and the other for UPS battery storage.

Riello UPS Leo Craig quote about encouraging data centres to embrace demand side response
DISPEL THE DOUBTS: Data centres need to embrace the potential of battery storage

How Can DSR Meet Increasing Electricity Needs?

Leo explains there is already more than 4 GW of electricity currently stored in uninterruptible power supplies across the UK. Enough electricity to run 3 million typical homes.

“A Li-Ion-equipped, smart grid-ready UPS can pump energy back into the electricity network, provide frequency stabilisation, and perform peak shaving, delivering genuine economic and environmental wins that benefit the individual business, the National Grid, and the wider public.

“It’s up to us to convince not just data centres, but other facilities with on-site backup power systems such as hospitals or utilities, to join this DSR revolution so we all reap the rewards.”

– Leo Craig, General Manager of Riello UPS

The article also includes a brief Q&A with Peter Stevenson, the Senior Technical Coordinator at battery manufacturer GS Yuasa. Riello UPS has partnered with the company on several recent projects. Peter explains some of the key advantages of lithium-ion UPS batteries. He also touches on why some data centres haven’t fully embraced DSR and battery storage.

Read the full piece about DSR and data centres in the September edition of DCS UK magazine