Data centers blamed for London’s electricity crisis, but the problem is bigger

Property developers in three boroughs west of London have been told there are limits to new housing because local electricity systems are not viable, with part of the blame being placed on data centres.

As reported yesterday by the FTThe Greater London Authority (GLA) has written to the builders advising them until 2035 for the expansion of the grid system to enable new connections in Hillingdon, Ealing and Hounslow.

The electricity networks in the area are running at capacity, and the GLA has pointed out that the data centers will “use a lot of electricity, the equivalent of cities or small towns, to power centers and ensure resilience in service”.

The area, one side of the M4, is home to a number of data centers including Virtus and Ark facilities in Hayes and ReWire in Ealing, each drawing tens of megawatts of power. , but the size and growth of data center capacity will also be available to others. Parts of the capital as well, including the City and East London. With the rapid growth of the data center and the rapid expansion of systems, it is surely only a matter of time before the box reaches power in other areas.

And it’s not just the UK. The Westelijk Havengebied region of Amsterdam is a data center that is seeing the construction of a 100 MW data center covering 100,000 square meters, the latest of 36 other data centers in and around Dutch capital. The area is called ‘code red’, which means that new businesses cannot be established there and restrictions are placed on the expansion of existing businesses.

“We’re really stuck in a city like Haarlem [pop 230,000] on Amsterdam about energy. It is asking for trouble,” said David Smeulders, professor of energy technology at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, plans by Meta for a larger 200 MW data center in a rural area have been blocked by the central government due to concerns about sustainability, water use and with the monopolization of energy, but because the laws are supposed to be regulated. doesn’t care about the rapid expansion of those departments, and needs to pause for review.

The UK’s regulatory regime is behind the times when it comes to marrying design, consumerism, business and energy efficiency, and the country’s focus is even greater. , according to Laura Sandys, director of the Energy Digitalisation Taskforce, a working group under the Department for Energy Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

“Public agencies and Ofgem are creating silos and not looking at the whole system,” he said during the National Grid’s discussion. Future Energy Outlook 2022, the electricity and gas company’s latest report on the UK’s energy needs.

It’s not a data center problem. As we move away from fossil fuels such as water and gas to power cars, homes and businesses, electronic bags must take on a greater risk.

If all the cars in the UK were powered and used high voltages, we would need a generating capacity of 450 GW to handle the hypothetical peak, or six times the electricity generated by the country today.

Improving our electronic technology is a big and urgent task given the need for Net Zero, which requires not only the restructuring of the networks, but also a change in the nature of the market total energy – with local generation to replace remote central stations, local storage. such as using cars as a battery to feed the grid, demanding side navigation, micro-management of power, and smart watches – and new design rules to look at when long and weigh competing interests.

Of course, the problem is not with the large data centers themselves, which are more energy efficient than smaller buildings, but more with the inability to see the big picture.

The limits of the laissez-faire approach are now becoming apparent. Countries like Japan and South Korea are leading the way in this direction, setting an example for others to follow.

Data centers blamed for London’s electricity crisis, but the problem is bigger

Source link Data centers blamed for London’s electricity crisis, but the problem is bigger

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