PITTSBURGH — The enormous global appetite for connectivity is creating the need for more data, storage, and data centers. In turn, this creates the need for more electricity and stronger reserves to protect critical operations for businesses, organizations, and service providers. Eaton is using its Data Centers as a Grid approach to reimagine the role of the data center as an active participant in the energy transition, putting critical infrastructure to work in new ways to generate new revenue streams, enhance resiliency, and reduce carbon emissions. A key component of Eaton’s Everything as a Grid perspective, this application helps transform existing systems and enables data centers to work harder, smarter, and more sustainably.

“Data centers have an essential role to play in the energy transition, as operators seek to reduce their environmental footprints and meet regulatory and corporate sustainability goals,” said Hervé Tardy, Eaton’s vice president of marketing and strategy for critical power and digital infrastructure. “Our Data Centers as a Grid approach combines new energy management capabilities, data analytics, and sophisticated controls with existing infrastructure to support a bidirectional flow of energy to and from the grid. Using this approach, data centers can efficiently and effectively coordinate multiple energy sources, adopt more renewables, anticipate energy needs, and participate in grid programs to earn new revenue streams.”

A recent study commissioned by Eaton, “The intersection of digital transformation and the energy transition,” points to the important role of new energy business models in improving the ways data centers view and manage power needs as operators seek to improve sustainability. Among other findings, the research found that more than one-third of data center operators are seeking to sell generated power back to the grid as they continue to grow investments in renewables and energy storage.

Eaton’s Data Centers as a Grid approach combines intelligent power management technology, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), with digital innovation to reshape existing infrastructure into an asset for the grid. By enabling a bidirectional power flow, data centers can better support renewable resources and offset the cost of infrastructure upgrades by earning revenue through frequency response and other grid services. This creates a grid-interactive data center with infrastructure that increases sustainability, delivers more value, provides essential backup, and substantially reduces operating costs.

Using Eaton’s approach, data center operators can: 

  • Protect investments while ensuring around-the-clock uptime — Tap into deep expertise and a broad range of solutions for data center energy systems to make updates essential to a new power paradigm.
  • Generate recurring revenue with utility grid services — Leverage peak shaving to curtail energy usage multiple times per year to earn revenue from the utility. With Eaton’s EnergyAware UPS, there’s no effect on day-to-day operations, and synchronized reserve programs enable operators to add immediate capacity during unexpected outages.
  • Reduce OpEx through cost avoidance — Time-of-use optimization enables a shift in energy consumption to avoid times of high energy prices while a generator alternative enables customers to withstand longer outages without starting a diesel generator.
  • Transform dormant energy assets — Backup power systems can now also provide intelligent, grid-connected energy storage.
  • Reduce environmental footprint — Diesel generators used for backup during utility outages can be replaced with new power centers and batteries.
  • Contribute to a more sustainable world — Rapidly scale emergency power battery systems to support grid stability and further the penetration of renewable energy.