Under the title “If the Grid Goes Down”, the meeting took a rounded look at electrical infrastructure considerations with the BiFM and EDF Energy presentations being supplemented by user experiences supplied by Sungard – a leading provider of availability services. The event was also supported by leading industry vendors including APC, HellermannTyton, K8T and Rittal.
Addressing the group, Mick Dalton, Chairman, British Institute for Facilities Management, warned that energy legislation is set to “affect the whole idea of new data centre designs and costs”.
Clive Steed, Major Connections Manager, London and South East, EDF Energy also advised datacentre operators to inform electricity companies at an early stage about future plans for facility development, stating that longer lead times would help to “reduce risk”.
Mick Dalton commented upon the increasing scope and complexity of legislation including the European Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings and Part L of the building regulations, as well as factors such as the Government’s energy review, micro generation strategy, London Mayors energy strategy, and renewable planning policy, all of which will may influence how businesses deal with energy in the future. He said
Corporate Social Responsibility, Energy, Renewables, and Micro Generation / CHP will become key focuses in future for data centres.
Data centre owner and operators are major power consumers and therefore face with heavy energy costs.
At the same time the Grid is beset by challenges such as a decline in domestic production, an increased dependence on gas generation, the ‘Carbon Gap’ between current emission levels and 2050 targets, and the loss of generating capacity in 2025.
We need to think about the movement away from a traditional model where huge power stations supply the demands of whole towns and cities towards self-sufficiency for individual buildings, as well as the encouragement of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and low carbon energy businesses.
With increased regulation we can expect a lengthening in the timescales and costs associated with deploying new data centres.
It may therefore be that for some it will be easier to consider using ready-built facilities or even to outsource.
The UK Datacentre Networking Group will provide updates at future events and our next event will focus on the design issues which come into play once the energy supply is secured, and the both the legislative demands contained in Part L, PPS22 and the London Energy Strategy are met.
George Rockett, Director, UK Datacentre Networking Group said:
As one of the biggest consumers of utility power, data centres are also a major contributor to greenhouse emissions. This makes them an easy target for legislative initiatives regarding buildings and energy efficiency.
As the media and political clamour grows for business to prove their environmental credentials, the effect on reputation of those who fall foul of such legislation should not be underestimated.
The need to manage power efficiency goes beyond corporate social responsibility and the desire to be seen to wearing a ‘green’ badge.
Every data centre operator knows that increasing energy costs are impacting profitability, but if you add to that the fragility of the UK’s power resources, it makes more than economic sense to address power efficiency.
Demand for electricity continues to grow and is expected to rise from 358 to 381 billion kilowatt hours by 2020. This is despite the fact that one third of current generating capacity will retire by 2025.
Failure to curb energy consumption spells increased power outages, which would undoubtedly be damaging to UK PLC.
Speaking about EDF Energy’s strategy for power provision in London and the SouthEast, Clive Steed said that :
The Company is investing 1.45 billion over the next five years to improve the electrical infrastructure in the SouthEast of England.
Having looked at securing power for data centre facilities, the next meeting of the group will focus on how data centre professionals can become more efficient with energy usage. With high electricity prices increasingly impacting on business profitability, the meeting to be held in London on the 6th September will examine the steps that can be taken towards an energy efficient and high available data centre. Attendance at the UK Datacentre Networking Group is by invitation only.