India’s focus on renewable energy and microgrid technology will be key to drive eco-efficient datacenter growth in the country
ABB India, the power and automation major co-hosted a workshop on the emerging technology and market trends for datacenters. With the boom in smart phones and e-commerce – the consumerization of data and the need for IT infrastructure is proliferating the demand in the sector. The need of the hour are datacenters which optimize power usage, land utilization and cooling management systems thereby offering a cost advantage. The prime controllable cost is energy.Since India is on a growth trajectory, it is important that the growth is aligned with the country’s larger vision of clean energy and efficiency and smart cities with reliable power.
Reliable and uninterrupted supply of power is a key prerequisite for the efficient functioning of datacenters. On an average a data center uses thirty times more energy per square foot than office buildings. The other key concern is space – need for more computational power is often resolved by adding servers. Inevitably, though, rack space is maxed out and data center managers must find new ways to expand capacity and optimize value from every square foot. Many data-center operators are considering renewable energy, which offers the potential for lower-cost energy and provides an alternative to the grid in areas where reliability is an issue.
“India has a target of 175GW of renewable energy by 2022, which makes it one of the most attractive markets in the world to leverage this trend for the growth of datacenters,” said Giandomenico Testi, CTO, ABB India Limited. “Around 50% of India’s renewable energy passes through ABB equipment. ABB expertise in this sector entails a range of solutions which seamlessly offer grid connection, integration of renewables to power distribution and protection along with state of the art data infrastructure management systems, taking the efficiency of Indian datacenters to the next level,” Testi added.
However the volatility of renewable energy might pose problems sometimes. This is where microgrids technology can provide an approach that balances multiple resources such as the grid, diesel generation, and renewables. This is being done globally mainly in remote communities or industrial facilities where grid-delivered power is particularly expensive or unreliable. Microgrid technology offers the option of leveraging localized sources of energy with distributed generation and consumption. The Indian government is looking at renewable energy powered micro and mini-grids to enhance access to electricity in many energy dark regions. As this technology evolves to further simplify microgrid management, data centers will increasingly embrace the concept. ABB is a global leader in microgrid technology with installations ranging from mines, to buildings, and remote islands and villages. ABB set up India’s first urban multi-source microgrid pilot to power its global customer connect event in New Delhi, last year.
“Industry-academia research and collaboration is the need of the hour for jointly addressing challenges in any growing industry. Our collaboration with ABB for this workshop is a key step to bridge the gap between industry and academia. Such opportunities also enable our students to know more about the best practices in the datacenter industry and interact with the experts,“ said Dr. O.G.Kakde, director, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI).
Manufacturers will continue to respond to customer demand for future technology improvements, depending on larger stakeholder universe, leading to even greater enhancements to energy efficiency and power quality. Technology advancement driven efficiency, including more advanced UPS systems and medium voltage topology, will show the way for competitive advantages. Adoption and exploration of new approaches to energy management by operators will drive continued operational innovation and improvements.