Data centers should sell spare UPS capacity to the grid

Data centers should sell spare UPS capacity to the grid

The energy storage capacity in uninterruptable power supply (UPS) batteries, languishing often dormant in data centers, could provide new revenue streams for those data centers, says Eaton, a major electrical power management company.

Excess, grid-generated power, created during times of low demand, should be stored on the now-proliferating lithium-backup power systems strewn worldwide in data centers, Eaton says. Then, using an algorithm tied to grid-demand, electricity should be withdrawn as necessary for grid use. It would then be slid back onto the backup batteries when not needed.

The concept is called Distributed Energy and has been gaining traction in part because electrical generation is changing—emerging green power, such as wind and solar, being used now at the grid-level have considerations that differ from the now-retiring, fossil-fuel power generation. You can generate solar only in daylight, yet much demand takes place on dark evenings, for example.

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