Melbourne, 23 January 2021 - Enel X, a global leader in Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and Demand Response services, has been recognised with the Datacenter Dynamics 2020 Award for Mission Critical Tech Innovation for its work with Digital Realty, a leading global provider of data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, in deploying a virtual power solution that provides flexible capacity to the Australian power grid to address peaks in electricity demand.
The award honors Enel X’s VPP program as an innovation making the most positive difference to data center design, operations and management practices.
Digital Realty has enrolled two of its Australian sites in Enel X’s VPP, allowing the company to innovate how it consumes energy to support the Australian electricity grid’s security and reliability. The initiative supports Digital Realty’s continued focus on driving operational efficiency and bringing innovative solutions to market on PlatformDIGITAL®, a purpose-built data center platform that enables the ever-changing data, control and networking demands of global enterprises.
As part of the initiative, Digital Realty’s sites can be made available to reduce load on the grid at peak times. By switching over to UPS and backup power generation, the sites reduce the strain on the power grid at peak times, which aids grid resilience. As an early participant in Enel X’s VPP program, Digital Realty benefits from more efficient use of equipment, robust testing practices and new revenue that reduces the total cost of ownership.
Jeff Renaud, Head of Asia and Oceania at Enel X, said: “We are delighted to have won this award for mission critical tech innovation. Being on call to use less energy from the grid at critical times is fundamental to enabling more power generation from intermittent renewables like solar and wind, which reduce carbon emissions and the cost of energy for all consumers. Participation also helps to prevent larger power outages and reduces the need to build more carbon-emitting power plants. We are thankful to Digital Realty and their supportive customers for leading the way in this space.”
Jon Curry, Vice President of Operations, Asia Pacific at Digital Realty said: “We are thrilled to be recognised alongside Enel X for our innovation in Australia. By participating in Enel X’s VPP, we have improved our mission critical infrastructure to ensure the highest standard of preparation in case of a power grid failure. VPP participation gives a true test of mission critical equipment, including UPS and backup generation assets, with the safety net of grid power to switch back to if required. Our team is also skilled and ready to respond to a grid emergency if needed. By altering our grid power use, we also directly help Australia’s grid to be more reliable, efficient and sustainable, both now and into the future.”
Enel X works with Digital Realty and many other commercial and industrial businesses to deliver the aggregated “virtual capacity” from all participants to the grid. Digital Realty did not require capital expenditure investment in additional equipment to participate in the VPP, but uses existing assets, and receives availability payments for being on call, which provides a forecastable revenue stream.
Data centers more broadly are well suited to VPP participation because they use a large volume of electricity that is relatively consistent, providing a predictable amount of load to support the grid when needed. They can transfer to their reliable backup power sources quickly and completely in case of a grid outage. Data centers of any size at any location, whether co-location or fully owned, can participate, regardless of onsite technology employed or energy provider. In addition, no new risks are introduced to the site as a result of participation, as existing load transfer methods are used in all cases.