Operators of data centers — which consume high amounts of electricity per square foot of space — generally choose diesel backup systems over cleaner microgrids, sticking to the tried and true and believing that diesel provides the best reliability option. But that conservative choice yields emissions of carbon and particulates and misses opportunities to use cleaner microgrids to lower emissions and costs.

That’s the word from microgrid industry members, some of whom are just now beginning to crack the market. They say their efforts to educate data center operators about microgrids’ environmental and cost advantages are slowly beginning to pay off. And, microgrids can meet the data center industry’s requirements for reliability, the industry members say.

Data centers, which account for about 2% of US electricity use , are among the most energy-intensive building types, using 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical commercial office building. “This sector is highly dependent upon electricity for continuous business operations and any disruption in available power can have a significant impact on reputation, loss of customers, financial losses, etc.,” said Eric Dupont, executive vice president and chief development officer at PowerSecure. “This appears to drive data centers to continue to follow their traditional and proven model of backup generation systems sequenced to […]