Critical On-site Power Generation for The Data Center
The global data center community has been very responsible about making our data centers more energy efficient ever since EPA’s 2007 Report to Congress. But, even with our data centers operating with PUE’s as low as 1.1 and more efficiently than ever before, we are still consuming 2-3% of the nation’s electrical power capacity, and our government and utilities are concerned about it. We see evidence of their concerns in several ways, including:
- The North American Energy Reliability Corporation (NERC) reports that reliable electrical power across the US will be challenged by new and unusual events over the next decade and that some areas of the country are very likely to experience capacity deficiencies.
- EPA has established an EnergyStar programs for data centers, servers, and power using and transmission equipment to encourage more efficient operations of our technologies and our facilities.
- Our largest utilities are pushing us to better manage our power utilization by offering us data center energy efficiency incentives and driving us into demand response programs to prepare us for power deficiencies across the country.
So how will we respond to requests from our utilities and our governments to reduce our load on the Grid?
Many believe that a distributed generation model is inevitable in the US and that a multitude of small and 70-80% efficient cogeneration power plants will replace the 30% efficient mega-power plant and Grid transmission system of today. And, EPA has developed a CHP (combined heat and power) EnergyStar Challenge to encourage all of us to follow this model. At the same time, global demands have created opportunities for us to benefit from distributed generation that will improve the availability of electrical power, support “green” environmental standards, and provide for the effective use of our most abundant natural and financial resources. The concept of “critical” on-site and independent power generation allows us to respond to four ongoing global challenges already nearing crisis levels.
- First, we can dramatically improve the availability and stability of power across the globe where our public Grid systems have failed all too often recently.
- Secondly, we can minimize our global dependence on fossil fuels from resource-deprived and politically-unstable regions around the world that put our power generation capabilities at risk.
- Thirdly, we operate with much improved air emissions of ozone depleting “greenhouse” gasses at very competitive costs.
- Fourth, we can take control of our energy costs in an era of continuous electrical utility rate hikes with the stabilization of natural gas prices.
The data center community has an opportunity today to lead the way with our power hungry IT operations. But we have to make absolutely certain that we receive the reliable performance that we really need? And, that means “critical” on-site power.
There are a many data centers operating today with efficient and reliable on-site power, and a variety of different forms of combustion and chemical generators that support them. The newest form of these is the development of a 7×24 “micro-grid” that very well may create a new paradigm for the provisioning of power for our data centers of the future? In order to achieve the maximum benefit from such facilities, we need to engage and come to agreement with federal and state governments, municipalities and utilities in new ways as we make our own power.
This presentation will describe what “critical” onsite power is all about. It will summarize the operations of several data centers now using different forms of on-site power. And, it will explain how The Data Centers LLC plans to minimize operating costs and maximize operating profits in such a facility down to the technical and financial validation models. Bruce Myatt of The Data Centers LLC will cover these bases and explain the benefits and challenges of “Off Grid Computing” in the 21st Century.