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Insights from Thought Leaders Part 4: Can Data Centers Boost Renewable Power and Energy Storage?

May 02, 2018

 

Data Center Frontier, Bulk Power Distribution TowersChatsworth Products (CPI) recently participated in Data Center Frontier's Executive Roundtable, and has documented each discussion in past blogs. 

In this fourth and final installment of this blog series, we offer a summary of the final interview held with industry thought leaders as they answered the question from Data Center Frontier: 

"Data center companies are some of the largest consumers of renewable energy. Are these initiatives by large data center operators making clean energy more available and affordable? Will energy storage become part of the solution anytime soon?"

"From solar array to wind turbines...the data center industry is leading the charge into the renewable future. The challenge with most renewables is timing. When the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing, the data center still needs power. For these cases, energy storage allows for management of power through the generation-down cycle. Many existing methods for storing energy—flywheel, battery, pumped hydro—allow for on-demand storing and conversion of energy. Data centers should invest in renewable energy storage as it drives development and adoption of a new type of backup power system that can also supplement the capacity of the power utility." - Dennis VanLith, Senior Director of Global Product Management, and one of the founders at CPI

"Yes!...Regardless of the size of the total demand—an ever-increasing proportion of the energy used by data centers is coming from renewables in one form or another...The data center industry already is providing the utility grid with potentially 2 percent capacity for 10-minute windows...In the future, data centers will become energy centers with a financial stake in the stability and availability of the local grid." - Jack Pouchet, VP of Market Development at Vertiv

"...We are the largest buyer of renewable energy among data centers providers, and have certified more green buildings than any other data center provider...When it comes to sustainability, there's nothing that's off the table for us...Energy storage is certainly among the areas of technology we are watching closely and would consider when the economics and environmental impact dynamics are aligned." - Erich Sanchack, EVP of Operations at Digital Realty

"I think there are a lot of discussions about how to use captive power to offset peak consumption, but it still needs better instrumentation and control to help shape workload and power consumption where the tradeoffs show ROI. To get to that mode of operation...we'll need more successful use cases that show how to retrofit data centers, leverage environmental and power data feeds...to assess when the model shows ROI." - Jeff Klaus, General Manager of Intel Data Center Software Solutions

Read the full article or click on the links below to read through the complete blog series for a recap and summary of each Executive Roundtable discussion:

Part 1: Data Centers Power the Digital Transformation

Part 2: The Rise of AI in the Data Center

Part 3: Rack Power Densities Rising, But Slowly

Brittany Mangan, Digital Content Specialist

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