Critical sites: getting on board with DSR

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A new white paper, Mission critical sites and DSR: turned on or turned off?, reports that the tide is turning and an increasing number of mission critical sites are now engaging with demand-side response.

Among the case studies highlighted in the report is a pilot project which has demonstrated the potential for a colocation data centre to use energy storage technologies and renewables to supply excess power to the Grid. Eaton’s energy storage technologies, developed in collaboration with car manufacturer Nissan, were implemented in Webaxys’ data centre in Saint-Romain de Colbosc near Le Havre, France.

The energy storage solution provides a ‘second-life’ for Nissan electric vehicle batteries, and in combination with Eaton’s uninterruptible power supply capabilities, provides an industrialised energy control and storage solution that enables integration with local renewable sources, as well as allowing companies to draw down from and provide energy back to the grid.

Webaxys, a host and telecoms operator, has pursued an innovation strategy based on strong values of social commitment and respect for the environment ever since it was established in Normandy, France back in 2003.

Using renewable energies such as solar power, which by its nature is intermittent, means that energy has to be stored. This has made the data centre an ideal candidate for participating in demand-side response.

“In addition to relying on electricity generated entirely using renewable sources and the optimisation of energy efficient technologies already used in our first data centre, we wanted to go further and commit to reducing our energy dependency using all the innovations at our disposal to minimise our environmental impact,” says Emmanuel Assié, CEO of Webaxys.

Webaxys’ customers were also keen to maintain their green credentials and being able to host their business in a sustainable way proved influential in their decision on where to place their business – in fact, rack space located in the part of the data centre piloting the approach was the first to be rented.

“Customers were able pass the message of sustainability back to their clients, improving their standing in the public eye…Businesses are now becoming more demanding in terms of green credentials, so you will see more take-up of solutions like this,” comments Dennis O’Sullivan, data centre segment lead for Eaton.

According to O’Sullivan, there is growing interest among data centres in participating in DSR: “In the past there was reluctance, as data centres viewed it as a risk; now they are seeing it as a potential money earner. It is a new, experimental approach and data centres tend to dip their toe in until they are entirely secure in the knowledge that it is safe, whereas other industry sectors may wade straight in.

“Data centres are waiting to see who else is doing it; we will see the increasing popularity of DSR, but the movement is slow. You could compare this to the use of free cooling. Originally, it was seen as a risk, now it is becoming the norm. I have witnessed this kind of evolution, throughout my career, and it will just be a matter of time before people accept DSR.” Tow download the white paper, click here.

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