back to article Microsoft's Dublin datacenter to help take pressure off Ireland's renewable energy

Microsoft is to deploy its "grid-interactive UPS technology" at the company's datacenter in Dublin, Ireland, later this year to demonstrate how such technology may be used to help decarbonize power grids. The Redmond software giant disclosed last month how it and power management specialist Eaton were jointly working on …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    allows facilities such as datacenters to - if necessary - feed some power back to the grid from their backup energy storage systems, typically large banks of lithium-ion batteries managed by a UPS system.

    Why would datacentre draw more energy than it needs to and then send it back to the grid?

    Maybe it will draw energy when the tariff is cheap and then send it back when the margin is right to make profit?

    How much energy is going to be wasted because of this?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Speculation

      To be fair, that is exactly what Dinorwig do, and it's a very necessary function.

      Very large storage is very necessary to cover peaks and intermittent supply.

      1. teknopaul

        Re: Speculation

        What I don't get is why Microsoft have this massive storage system in case the electricity grid wobbles and are willing to use it exactly when it's most likely to be needed.

        "We have this battery asset in the datacenter that is just sitting there,"

        Should ask a few technical types what the Ups was actually purchased for.

  2. YetAnotherXyzzy

    ""We have this battery asset in the datacenter that is just sitting there"

    That's like me saying I have this useless life insurance policy, and health insurance policy, and auto insurance policy, all just sitting around doing nothing. I should cancel them all and consider myself very clever for saving a few coins.

    1. Scotthva5

      Good analogy and typical Borg behavior attempting to monetize everything not nailed down...or nailed down in this case.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      A similar thought struck me - is there any way they could monetize their backup media that are just sitting there doing nothing? Maybe rent them out to RTE to play out the evening's TV?

    3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      That's like me saying I have this useless life insurance policy, and health insurance policy, and auto insurance policy, all just sitting around doing nothing.

      More like: "I should just drive off that cliff."

      And then before the impact realising life is not a game and you'll not respawn and you forgot to start a family, so nobody is going to claim the insurance.

    4. druck Silver badge

      If you've got 200% of the UPS capacity required, you can either let the grid fail and use it to shut everything down with plenty to spare. Or you could use that spae capacity to shore up the grid, and it might then not fall over - it has to be better for business to keep the lights (and servers) on.

      1. YetAnotherXyzzy

        1. I doubt very much that any competently run datacenter has much more than 100% required capacity. The people who design, pay for, and run them aren't fools.

        2. In a datacenter, when (not if) the grid fails, the UPS is not to let you perform an orderly shutdown. It is to give you the time you need to fire up your on-site generators, including some "oh good grief why aren't they starting?" time. Or so the people who run the datacenter my employer uses tell me.

    5. gillburt

      I read it more like we have this life insurance so why don't we kill ourselves to take advantage of it, and just hope in the meantime we don't need actually need it.... oh.

  3. Swarthy

    Survey Results

    ...many datacenter operators said they were satisfied that they had more than enough capacity to cope.
    Did they ask the Operators, or did they ask the BOFHs' Bosses? I don't think I could imagine Simon saying "We have more than enough capacity" - not when the over flow could be used sold to the Helldesk to charge their phones/laptops, or - better - to run the espresso machine, during a power cut.

    I could see the Boss wanting to sell it back, and The BOFH giving him an example of the poor re-usability of electricity, using a cattle prod as a demonstration aid.

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "decarbonize power grids"

    I usually use the big wide brushes with metal bristles.

    In other news, I've reached buzzword bingo.

  5. Richard 12 Silver badge

    "Feed power back"


    The load is still there, so surely what they mean is "Run the datacentre from UPS on request", aka "Interruptible supply contract", like many places already have.

    It's not like those computers are getting turned off.

  6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    That is so nice of MS

    Of course, they are doing this to be good, green citizens, and won't be demanding a monthly "standing payment" to have the batteries on stand-by in case they are needed. Oh no, they will simply offer the power if or when it's needed, at normal market rates. </sarc>

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wonder at what point somebody realises that they can run their onsite diesel gensets to produce electricity and sell it back to the grid at profit as "green battery supplied" power.

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