Cheap energy prices in the Nordics could lead to complacency and inefficient power system design if this issue is not addressed during data centre construction, says equipment hire specialist Aggreko.
Thanks to a well-functioning and competitive electricity market bolstered by readily available renewable energy from hydropower, biomass, wind and geothermal sources, data centres in the area have traditionally benefitted from lower operational costs. However, this abundance of resources could result in complacency in ensuring efficient testing of energy infrastructure takes place. According to Aggreko, this is exacerbated by the rush to build more power-dense facilities to meet the world’s ever-increasing data demands.
This ongoing trend could lead to unnecessarily inflated operational costs over a data centre’s lifetime, says Greger Ruud, Sector Development Manager at Aggreko. “The reliability of power supplies in the Nordics region, combined with the abundance of cheaper energy from renewable sources, has often been an enticing feature for organisations looking to build data centres in Scandinavia or Iceland. Yet this could present problems for data centre owners and operators later down the line as far as power systems are concerned, if complacency sets in.”
He adds: “As cheap energy is so readily available, contractors may have different priorities than they would in the FLAP markets, specifically around ensuring necessary infrastructure is as efficient as possible. This would be a mistake – new facilities are expected to be increasingly power-dense to accommodate requirements for new and emerging data-hungry technologies. Consequently, not considering power efficiency at the design, construction and commissioning stages could lead to ongoing costs over a data centre’s lifecycle that could otherwise have been avoided.”
Extensive power infrastructure testing represents one possible way of ensuring facilities operate optimally on a day-to-day basis when brought online. By accessing relevant expertise during the initial data centre construction phases, it is therefore possible to identify areas where inefficiencies exist within the energy infrastructure and resolve them beforehand, lowering operational costs.
“When building data centres, it is important to look beyond the here-and-now, especially where initial expenses are concerned,” concludes Greger. “By engaging sector experts for testing in these crucial initial stages, site owners and operators can enjoy peace-of-mind, knowing that their power systems are as efficient as possible.
“Indeed, over time, the cost savings realised by putting these processes in place early on will more than offset project commissioning costs. By bringing in and correctly implementing readily available testing expertise to drive down energy consumption, facility stakeholders can help future-proof power-dense facilities against the world’s exponentially growing demand for data.”