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Data centre market ready for adoption of grid-interactive UPS in boost towards renewable energy initiatives

Data centre market ready for adoption of grid-interactive UPS in boost towards renewable energy initiatives

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Driven largely by the need for energy demand management and greater sustainability, the data centre market is ready for the adoption of grid-interactive uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), according to a white paper commissioned by intelligent power management company, Eaton, from Omdia, market-leading data, research and consulting business. The white paper, UPS Interacting with the Electric Grid can do more for Data Centres, is based on the results of a survey of 380 qualified IT decision-makers across five regions (North America (the US and Canada), the UK and Ireland, Western Europe (France and Germany), Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark) and Australia) to better understand the adoption of UPS systems that interact with the grid. Among its findings, the survey reveals that 90% of respondents expect to deploy grid-interactive UPSs within the next four years, with more than half (54%) expecting interaction within the next two years.

The main function of UPS systems in data centres is to increase reliability by protecting against power disturbances. UPS and batteries are used only in power outages, which means they can be available for other applications. Grid-interactive UPSs, such as Eaton’s EnergyAware, however, incorporate technologies that enable the equipment to sense and interact with the grid, thereby contributing to the pursuit of a more sustainable data centre.

“Enabling a UPS to interact with the grid is an innovative way for data centre operators to do more with existing assets,” said Marco Nardi, Product Manager, EnergyAware UPS & Lithium Batteries at Eaton. “It can enable them to integrate renewable energy resources into their power portfolio, balance energy supply and demand, reduce or defer grid infrastructure investment and even create new revenue streams.”

Sustainability was identified as the top driver for grid-interactive UPS adoption, followed by recognition as technology innovation pioneer, reputational and competitive advantages and managing energy demand response. Omdia suggests that these results can be seen as an indicator of how sustainability tops the agenda for most companies and that it can be perceived as a competitive advantage. 

The white paper also reports that the grid-interactive UPS market is accelerating. Omdia forecasts that ongoing improvements to the technology’s feature set will cause revenue to grow at a 44% CAGR, reaching US$376 million in 2026. While Western Europe currently has the highest demand for projects deploying grid-interactive UPS, Omdia expects most of this growth to come from North America, due to successful case studies, regulation and policy incentives. 

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