The unique opportunity for Ireland’s data centre sector to lead in sustainable power

Jon Sedgewick, head of market operations at Electricity Exchange, recently told an industry panel that data centres have the opportunity to deploy gas engine infrastructure which can feed back power to the grid. The availability of this type of power generation supports the uptake of renewables by the grid operator by making capacity and supply more reliable as the nation becomes more dependent on renewables. Gas used for back-up is low carbon, especially when running on blended hydrogen. On-site gas generation also brings

Ireland’s data centre sector is emerging as a world leader in the adoption of turbine engines

Ed Ansett, Founder and Chairman of i3 Solutions

Group, asks could the Irish data centre sector explore energy sources such as natural gas, biogas and blended hydrogen for its power


hen it comes to reporting new developments, renewable energy

projects and growing capacity, few data centre markets are as fast-paced as that of Ireland. But, for the onlooker, this booming sector is already displaying some of the problems of success. Challenges include how to facilitate demand for power, especially the right type of power, as well as the type of power generation options available to ensure energy-conscious continuous supply to power data centres. If all current and planned onshore and offshore wind power were available at once, Ireland’s grid could feed the requirements of the entire country, including its existing planned data centres, with significant excess residual capacity for export. The country has already made a large investment in onshore wind and, now, with the development offshore wind farms such as Arklow Bank Phase 2, wind energy is catching up with the capacity of Ireland’s established synchronous power stations. However, the wind doesn’t always blow – not even in Ireland, and the sun


doesn’t always shine – especially not in Ireland! This means, alternative options are a necessity.

INTERMITTENT POWER Problems surrounding the intermittent nature of renewable power are becoming well-known in the data centre industry. The issue, then, becomes finding an energy source that complements the intermittency of renewables. In rising to this challenge, Ireland’s

data-centre sector is emerging as a world leader in the adoption of gas- reciprocating and turbine engines, including the use of blended hydrogen for on-site generation and battery energy storage systems (BESS). In doing so, it is also gaining valuable experience that will address many of the issues facing the global data-centre market. Because of its grid structure, its investment in onshore and offshore wind, and its access to a natural gas supply, Ireland’s data centres are likely to be the first to benefit from on-site gas engine and BESS operation at scale.

other benefits. These include offsetting peak power tariffs for operators, the option to generate payments for demand side response (DSR) supplies fed back into the grid, and even enabling grid sustainability through its reliability to support the grid when renewable power availability ramps down and demand ramps up.

While supply and distribution challenges are complex, the data centre sector could lead the way in the innovative use of on-site gas- reciprocating engines and turbines to generate power either be captured in energy-storage systems or supplied directly to the grid to meet demand.

RENEWABLE As Ireland’s grid shifts to become more and more dependent on the use of renewables, the concept of System Non-Synchronous Penetration (SNSP) comes into play. Renewable generation is non-synchronous, meaning it produces a variable amount of energy depending on wind availability and the amount of sunlight. SNSP is the metric used to measure


Solutions Group

the maximum amount of renewable and HVDC (high voltage direct current) energy that can be accommodated by the grid at any given moment, before system frequency control becomes too challenging for the operator. At the moment, SNSP is limited to 65% (Q1 2018), but the target for 2030 is achieve an SNSP of 90% or greater. This is a scale challenge. Ireland’s grid will grow to over 11GWs by 2030. Eirgrid forecasts that 25% of the growth in demand could come from data centres. All these power strategies will accelerate Ireland’s journey to a carbon- free future.


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36