As recent reports show rapidly escalating data centre supply in the FLAP markets, construction site stakeholders need to identify energy solutions to keep powering this rapid expansion, says Aggreko.
According to a recent CBRE report, new supply surged in 2021, with 397MW coming online across the FLAP markets. With this momentum expected to continue into 2022, Aggreko is encouraging data centre owners and operators to get ahead of the curve when it comes to energy scarcity and powering increasing amounts of space.
“Though the European market’s continued boom is undoubtedly good news, certain worrying trends can be identified by delving through the data behind this continued growth,” says Billy Durie, Global Head for Data Centres at Aggreko. “Nowhere is this more apparent than in the fact that the FLAP markets have experienced its two largest quarters for take-up in the second half of the year, with 105MW in Q3 and 96MW in Q4 respectively. Taking this into account, the question must be asked- how is all of this going to be powered?
“Such scale, coupled with the fact the CBRE has anticipated higher costs caused by energy price rises, will pose challenges for those building new facilities to service this growth. Namely, data centre stakeholders may find themselves unable to power expanded halls or increased take-up in existing premises due to grid constraints.”
The effects of grid strain can be clearly seen in Amsterdam, where a moratorium has been in place since July 2019 on data centre construction in both the city and nearby Haarlemmermeer’s municipalities. Though not as extreme, other areas are experiencing similar issues. For example, the CBRE has identified government-imposed restrictions on build activity as a key challenge for the rapidly expanding Frankfurt market.
Such limitations highlight the role decentralised energy solutions could play in meeting data centre construction demand. Specifically, by using generator technology as a bridging solution during both the project and when facilities come online, power provision can be maintained while grid capacity is increased for these new or expanded facilities.
Billy says: “Looked upon from the outside, it could be argued that the European data centre sector is experiencing what might be regarded as an enviable problem. Yet this remains a pressing concern, and one that must be addressed if the FLAP markets’ upward trajectory is to continue unabated. The provision of green distributed energy equipment on a hired basis is one such way to bridge this gap between ever-growing data centre demand and increasingly unreliable and constrained grid infrastructure.
“Whether through the use of alternative fuels such as HVO, alongside Stage V generators for larger sites or hybrid battery systems for smaller loads, the technology is already there to sustainably assist this transition. Considering these facilities are increasingly situated in built-up areas subject to emissions controls, this is also a vital concern.”