The data center industry in Europe is developing in a fast pace, and this process comes with a paradox. Data centers are getting bigger and bigger and will consume more and more energy, but in the medium and long term this will help European countries to produce more green energy.
According to a BloombergNEF, Eaton and Statkraft study that analyses the five main European markets – UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands – data centers energy consumption will double in the coming years, from 3 GW by the end of 2021, to 5.4 GW in 2030. A more enthusiastic estimate shows that this data centers power consumption could reach 7 GW in 2030.
As data centers design capacity is projected to grow by 83% by 2030, so will the need for more flexibility in the power supply system. Eaton estimates that data centers will offer the European energy market 16.9 GW in flexibility in 2030, with greater benefits than consumption. As the European energy market is expected to cover almost 60% of the total energy needs from renewable sources (solar and wind) by 2030, compared to only 27% in 2021, data centers will become important suppliers of energy flexibility.
“The development of data centers offers a unique opportunity for the energy system. Given the way they are built, especially due to the high energy storage capacity that exists in the back-up systems, data centers can become important players in the energy market. There is enormous potential for making the market more flexible using the data center resources and we believe that all parts should work together in order to accelerate this process on the Romanian market. We see a growing demand in our country for data centers with installed power capacity up to 100 KW, and after the development they could be integrated into the national energy system”, says Gabriel Tache, General Manager Eaton Electric Romania.
Our economy and society rely heavily on data in a time when we need to curb energy consumption if we want to fight climate change. There are no megabytes without megawatts, and as we demand and produce more and more data, the level of power consumption will increase. But higher consumption will lead to even greater flexibility in the energy market. Data centers are based on three broad categories of energy flexibility – uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, essentially energy storage devices, backup generators, and the ability to switch power sources over time, and location.
The Romanian market will also contribute to this process, as the data centers are in accelerated development. According to national industry insights, the data center infrastructure market grew by more than 20% last year, and this trend will continue in 2022.
Eaton offers integrated solutions for the entire data center infrastructure, from transformers and switchboards for power and distribution to software solutions for complete power management. There are currently more than 20 data centers where Eaton provides consulting and technology, especially communication solutions with IEC 62443-4-2 and UL 2900-2-2 cyber security certifications.