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Interview: Vertiv VP says data centre energy usage to triple in next decade

15 Feb 2018

​Energy consumption by data centres is set to soar more than three times over the next 10 years.

This statistic and its repercussions were the focal points of Vertiv EMEA power sales and business development vice president, Emiliano Cevenini’s presentation at the recent Datacloud UK event held in London.

“It is of utmost importance for data centre owners and operators to optimise their energy costs and take advantage of the opportunity to utilise renewable energy, preserving the energy availability and resilience of the grid,” Cevenini says.

“At Vertiv we are not energy producers, but we can help customers make better use of their existing energy.”

It comes as no surprise that data centres are one of the largest and fastest growing consumers of electricity in the modern world. It's essentially the burden of a booming industry.

Cevenini sees the current data centre situation as a transition period for the industry, with the biggest challenge (and opportunity) for data centre operators being finding the energy to actually run their facilities. Increasingly this comprises of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro. Once the energy source is confirmed, the next crucial step getting the best cost through optimising their usage.

“Data centre customers have gone through the adoption of higher efficiency equipment to reduce their waste of energy after we had this big wave of providers offering customers more energy-efficient solutions,” Cevenini says.

“Then due to more resilient infrastructure and fast acting diesel generators, we actually saw the demand for battery energy storage go down.”

However, Cevenini says this trend has turned around as diesel generators are now becoming less and less popular for various reasons, while battery energy storage solutions continue to advance.

“In order to make operations of future data centres resilient, they will need to have battery energy storage within the data centre. Where there is enough energy, our offer is to optimise the cost of that energy and allow them to sell specific services back to the grid,” Cevenini says.

“Now is the time where we go back to our customers and tell them if you actually expand your battery energy storage then we can unlock you services that will reduce the cost of energy you buy and provide you with a system that is able to sell services.”

For the year ahead, Cevenini sees this trend accelerating with more data centres buying additional battery energy storage.

“We have seen it picking up across the industry, especially in the colocation market where customers have been investing more in battery storage to achieve more benefits,” says Cevenini.

“Vertiv is trying to disrupt our area before we get disrupted and that's why we are so invested in developing technologies that are in the energy space. For a business like Vertiv, it’s a huge opportunity.”

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