Ireland-based power management group Eaton is launching a new service that allows data centres to sell ‘spare’ UPS energy back to the market to support power grids in frequency containment reserve (FCR).
Eaton said its ‘UPS-as-a-Reserve’ energy service (UPSaaR), developed in collaboration with Finnish energy group Fortum, is designed “to respond to industry needs to maximise potential gains from data centre investments, as well as the opportunities from helping energy providers balance sustainable energy demands”.
Data centre operators can use the service to “momentarily reduce” their power demands and return power to the grid, Eaton said. “A data centre could expect to raise up to EUR50,000 ($59,000) per megawatt of power allocated to grid support per year.”
Eaton said “extensive testing” of the service “has proven that the UPS can work as part of a virtual power plant to enable data centres to take part in the high-value FCR and demand-side market”.
“The UPS, which uses stored power in the event of a power failure, can be used to regulate demand from the grid, as well as for up and down stream charging, essentially to discharge the battery back to the grid,” Eaton said.
“Data centre operators can then support the grid in frequency regulation, generating additional revenue to offset the total cost of ownership of the UPS or as part of making the data centre more competitive on price.”
According to Eaton, the company’s research among data centre leaders in Europe indicated 55% of respondents would consider the idea of “selling spare energy from their power systems back to the market”.
UPSaaR— initially offered on the company’s Eaton 93PM and Power Xpert 9395P UPS models across markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)— “will be aggregator neutral” so organisations can choose to work with their preferred energy supplier, Eaton said. “The UPS’s primary load protection functionality is unaffected by the service.”
Eaton’s power quality technology manager for the EMEA region Janne Paananen, said: “This turns supply and demand on its head. Instead of just demanding power, data centres can support the grid and be compensated for it. The data centre industry has been moving away from focusing solely on energy and cost savings over the last five years and it now more about making investments pay for themselves. Data centre professionals can create a revenue generation strategy around assets that they already have, such as the UPS.”