Data centres currently rely on local or national power grids for electricity. Should an outage occur, they would require backup power. As they cannot afford to suffer power interruptions, data centres have invested in their onsite Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems. Those energy assets have been and still are a real burden from an economic standpoint.

Firstly, because of the large amount of capital they engulf and, secondly, the operational expenditure needed for their maintenance. These assets are also part of a larger challenge: sustainability.

Over the last two decades, data centres have dealt with energy this way – a combination of grid electricity for affordability and emergency diesel generators for reliability. But those times may be over. Because what data centres are seeking is a reliable dual feed to create 100 percent availability for IT production, and it can now be done differently.

The energy prosumer model

Data centres can now access an energy prosumer model, where energy assets are positioned within a microgrid operated by an energy provider. This enables an effective integration between the microgrid and the larger grid. Depending on the possibilities of the location, the microgrid would include sustainable energy production.

Winning through economical and sustainable ways

Switching to this prosumer model offers more than one benefit for data centres. They can access renewable energy, both for their primary and emergency needs.

For data centres – inside specific power purchase agreements – it is a solution to reach carbon neutrality by supporting the global effort toward sustainability. The dual feed inside the microgrid also guarantees high availability – two energy sources provide primary and emergency power to the data centre.

With this model, data centres stay focused on their critical mission: IT production. The energy specialist is the one to take care of the microgrid – from conception, through the build, and during operation and maintenance – in exchange for a negotiated fixed price.

Energy production is carried out in accordance with the needs of the data centre and based on the primary source of energy available: gas, solar, or wind. The prosumer model also provides transparency and control regarding the data centre energy consumption and sustainability measures.

This is one of many ways ENGIE helps drive the decarbonization of data centres economically and sustainably. Discover more here.