Google’s first virtual battery at Belgian datacentre
Google is working with European energy joint venture Fluence on its first zero-emission energy backup system, based at a hyperscale data centre in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium.
This is Google’s first such project globally that uses a battery-based energy storage system to reduce the use of diesel generators needed to provide backup power to the facility.
The installation of 5.5MW of Fluence’s Gridstack storage batteries at the St.Ghislain data centre serves as a proof-of-concept for wider use of battery-based energy storage at Google’s facilities. The project will provide 2.75MW of energy for demand response programmes to help stabilise the Belgian grid via operator ELIA.
UK energy operator Centrica will connect the battery storage assets to the Belgian electricity grid, allowing Google’s on-site batteries to flexibly store and discharge energy using Centrica’s specialised FlexPond software.
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Data centres are among the most energy-intensive facilities and account for approximately 1 percent of global electricity demand. Because of their need for a continuous power supply at all times, most data centres rely on diesel generators for backup power in the event of grid disruptions.
“Not only will it allow Google to operate more cleanly during interruptions to grid reliability, but through our collaboration with Centrica, our battery will help the Belgian electricity grid maintain its target frequency and stay in balance,” said Marc Oman, Senior Lead of Data Centre Energy and Infrastructure at Google.
“The zero-emission backup power system provided by Fluence at our St. Ghislain facility is an important step forward in reaching our carbon-free energy goals. We look forward to how the project will open the way for Google to deploy battery-based energy storage technologies across our other facilities, reducing reliance on fossil-fuel based back-up generation and providing flexibility to the grid to enable increased integration of renewable energy,” he said.
“There are an estimated 20 gigawatts of backup diesel generators in service across the data centre industry, representing a massive opportunity to deploy cleaner solutions. Managed correctly, we can not only support data centres to operate more sustainably, but also deliver grid scale flexibility – balancing the volatility of renewable energy,” said Arno Van Mourik, Director of Centrica Business Solutions
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