Intelligent Data Centres Issue 49 | Page 21


Will the UK grid provide the secure energy supply you require ?

Bob Collinson , MD – Noveus Energy , considers the UK grid ’ s available capacity and the situation with new connections . He then looks at the on-site self-generation of energy through renewable options to mitigate the risk of not getting connected . He concludes with a look at related pressures on data centres , including hedging market costs , tenant expectations and regulatory constraints soon to come into play .

Within the tight constraints of the UK grid and regulatory and market pressures , data centres must think cleverly about ensuring a secure energy supply for new developments or increased capacity at an existing site .

The UK grid ’ s available capacity and connections
First , let ’ s look across the water to Ireland at an unprecedented current development .
Microsoft plans to build a large-scale gas power plant for its new € 900 million data centre in Dublin . The technology corporation decided to build its own power plant due to its concerns about severe constraints on Ireland ’ s energy grid after the Commission for Regulation of Utilities ( CRU ) and EirGrid introduced a moratorium on new data centres in the greater Dublin region until at least 2028 .
Back in the UK , the demand / capacity debate is simmering . Last summer , the Greater London Authority announced that new housing projects were being rejected in three west London boroughs because the grid had run out of capacity for new homes . Questions were asked by London ’ s Mayor and in government .
The latest news likely makes for sombre reading if you ’ re considering a new data centre or looking to increase your capacity at an existing site . Such reports certainly bring to the fore questions you may well ask :
Will data centres be considered ‘ top of the pile ’ critical infrastructure ? Where would our new data centre stand if it came up against a new hospital or housing development and what should we expect in such circumstances ?
As was likely the case with Microsoft in Ireland , the central question you ’ d ask is : can we get a grid connection ?
The reality is that it ’ s challenging to get one for a new development or to increase capacity at an existing site .
Gone are the days when you ’ d be guaranteed a grid connection and your data centre ’ s power supply would be up and running . Today , new data centres need to show greater creativity and be savvy and flexible in achieving diversity of supply to reach their required capacity endpoint .
What might this look like ? Starting with self-generation , like Microsoft , and running energy from an on-site power plant , meaning your immediate ask from www . intelligentdatacentres . com