Uptime on the line: Energy challenges in European DCs

Aggreko report offers energy solutions for European data centres facing challenges. Tactical and long-term options identified

The rapid expansion of the data centre industry across Europe has put a spotlight on the challenges facing facility stakeholders in maintaining site resilience in a challenging climate.

The sector's energy consumption rate is soaring, and operators are struggling to put in place long-term strategies alongside short-term solutions to counteract further uncertainty and incoming stricter regulations.

To help address these concerns, a new research report titled "Uptime on the Line" from Aggreko has mapped out tactical short-term solutions and more strategic, long-term options for data centre professionals in major European markets.

The report is based on interviews with 700 data centre professionals consulting for large businesses in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, who shared their insights on topics such as grid infrastructure, power outages, energy prices, and supply chain delays.

The report's findings highlight the need for tactical opportunities to manage energy and temperature control in today's facilities. As Billy Durie, Global Sector Head – Data Centres at Aggreko, notes, "Data centre demand is constantly increasing, yet utility provision needed to service this new development pipeline is currently under strain.

Keeping new and existing facilities online during this continued expansion are therefore priorities of global importance, so it is vital conversations occur on the best way to deliver power and temperature control to sites."

The report identifies a range of common obstacles for data centre professionals, including insufficient grid power, outages from aging equipment, and fluctuating heat and power requirements.

To address these challenges, the report explores on-site generation as a solution.

According to Durie, "On-site generation, implemented with hired equipment strategies explored in this latest report, can present huge opportunities for data centres, which are synonymous with high energy consumption rates. Identifying the correct equipment approach will be key to weathering growing macro issues around energy and temperature control provision, so it is crucial data centre stakeholders work closely with equipment experts to do so."

However, the report also notes that integrating decentralised energy plans poses unique issues that require expert supplier assistance to simplify and navigate.

With the growing macro issues around energy and temperature control provision, businesses could begin to lose sight of the longer-term view, especially in a sector dominated by short-term deadlines.

It is important to take a strategic approach to identify the right equipment approach that will be key to weathering the challenges ahead.

The report concludes that "Today's pressures are so significant that businesses could begin to lose sight of the longer-term view, especially in a sector dominated by short-term deadlines. Yet equipment is available today that can help lower dependency on the grid while addressing other key issues such as decarbonisation."

It is essential that data centre stakeholders work closely with equipment experts to identify the right approach to maintain site resilience in a challenging climate.

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