The UK’s Looming Energy Crisis: How Can Data Centre Operators Help?

Dominic Ward, VP of corporate and business development at Verne Global, highlights some ways to relieve the pressure on the UK’s power grid.

Data centres represent one of the fastest growing consumers of electricity in the world and power hungry computers are continuing to grow in significance. Recently, British Gas called on data centre operators to help close the UK energy supply and demand gap. This has prompted a much broader debate amongst IT decision makers who are now asking, where can I look to for sustainable, stable and secure solutions? Sourcing clean, reliable, and affordable electricity is critical to decision makers and CIOs and there are only a small number of markets in the world that meet this combination of requirements.

With an ageing and near capacity power infrastructure in the UK, IT decision makers should reassess how they can alleviate the increasing strain on the UK’s overwhelmed energy supplies. By contrast, countries such as Iceland offer abundant geothermal and hydro-electric energy and can provide CIOs with scalable, reliable, affordable and low-carbon solutions to data centres. Colder climates also mean an optimised, long term cooling solution as ambient air can be used to cool servers 365 days per year. It’s a win-win for businesses in search of cost and environmental efficiencies.

Countries such as Iceland offer abundant geothermal and hydro-electric energy.

To put the difference in context, the UK power grid runs at 96% capacity or higher, with little buffer. In Iceland, only 10% of Iceland’s natural power resources have been put into use. It is locations such as Iceland that will continue to see forward thinking CIOs move their compute away from straining power grids. Relocation would result in lower operating costs and less exposure to the risk of power supply disruption. It would also help to take some stress off the UK power grid.