back to article AWS buys 100+ diesel generators... and that's just for Irish datacenters

Amazon has applied to have 105 diesel generators installed at a new datacenter site in Dublin amid concerns over the impact on electricity networks and the potential for energy shortages across the sector this winter. The plans for the large number of diesel generators are found in an application for emission licences to …

  1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Wind power

    I don't understand why the likes of Amazon & Facebook don't have their own massive turbines built off the west coast of Ireland.

    God knows, Ireland is a windy place and while they won't be generating power all of the time, they will be most of time.

    It's hardly as if these companies are short a few billion.

    And while these have little to do with the diesel-powered generators they need as a data-centre-UPS but it would mean that they would be immune to the vagaries of price hikes and there would be a lower chance to put the diesel-powered generators into operation.

    And it would make for good PR too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wind power

      "they won't be generating power all of the time"

      This. When your wind turbines are not spinning it is a safe bet that the other wind turbines in the area are not spinning either. They need power for when there is a shortage caused by no wind, no sun or some other issue. And diesel generators provide that.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Wind power

        not only that but if the heat generated by the diesel generators is applied to pre-heating hot water and either steam or hot water for building heat, it can be significantly more efficient by saving additional power that would be used for building and water heat. Additionally the hot water and exhaust heat can generate chilled water for summer cooling via an absorption chiller.

        Co-generation. It's a GOOD thing!

        Worthy of mention, DG's can run off of natural gas as well as propane and diesel fuel and whatever else makes sense. The only difference is the fuel system i.e. the way the fuel is metered and injected. The rest of the system is identical regardless of fuel type. So if fuel types change radically it should only be a matter of a relatively quick retrofit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wind power

          Yep, good point, CHP for data centres makes so much sense. They only use around 30 - 40% of the energy supplied for compute, the rest for chilling and air movement. Wouldn't need more than 60 DRUPSs of the same capacity if they captured the waste heat for chilling.

        2. CountCadaver

          Lets go nuclear!

          Amazon Owned Nuclear Reactors - heat, power, zero emissions and ireland doesn't get earthquakes......though the NI Protocol issues might cause some security headaches....

      2. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: Wind power

        Wind power is never _the_ solution by itself, but it should be part of the energy mix.

        And if there is too much electricity produced by wind turbines, there are means to store it for a future usage.

        == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Wind power

      >I don't understand why the likes of Amazon & Facebook don't have their own massive turbines built off the west coast of Ireland.

      "Target" time for approval and design for an off-shore windfarm in the Eu is 5-8 years (Ironically the data is from a pre-Brexit UK study/report), it notes that local objections can delay this. Payback time is upto 25years

      So if Amazon don't mind delaying turning on their data centers for a decade, and don't care about electricty costs - then they should build their own windfarms. Although they will need diesel backup for the summer months when I am informed by tourismireland that the west coast is basically a tropical paradise

      1. First Light Silver badge

        Re: Wind power

        tourismireland is definitely lying. "Summer" in Ireland is about three days each August. It was so cold last June I needed to put the heat on during the day. To contrast with England, one day last June it was 38 degrees and boiling in Manchester and 18 degrees overcast, windy and rainy where I was in Co. Mayo.

    3. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Wind power

      Or build some close to a pumped storage Hydro scheme.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wind power

        Not sure about Ireland but not that many suitable big hills in the UK. Which is a shame.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Wind power

          So build some mountains - it's good for tourism

    4. Got2Thumbs

      Re: Wind power


      You really have no clue and clearly do not run a company or even a small business.

      Is PR more important than ensuring 24/7 100% reliability.

      1. newspuppy

        Re: Wind power

        your comment just shows the difference between an engineer promoted into running a company and a marketing guy promoted into running a company,,,,

        Solid Engineering is a great foundation for a real business. Unfortunately great marketing manages to triumph over solid engineering.....

        Many years ago, it was told to me that IBM stood for "incredibly better marketing". We still see that today... :(

        Few appreciate good engineering.... as when the engineering is good.. no one cares, as the job is done..

    5. sitta_europea Silver badge

      Re: Wind power

      "I don't understand why the likes of Amazon & Facebook don't have their own massive turbines built off the west coast of Ireland."

      If you're going to build something off the west coast of Ireland, would it not make more sense to use the tides?

      After all, they're completely reliable and predictable years in advance.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    I'd love to know how they spin this the next time they start talking about how good cloud computing is for the environment.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      They didn't say

      What type of cloud it was!

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Compared to every office having a bunch of Dell servers under someone's desk and a window AC unit?

  3. DS999 Silver badge


    Redundant Array of Independent Diesel Generators?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: RAIDG

      RAIDG - that is a good idea for peak and unexpected demands, actually. It's the way power was often managed in the "before time".

      Ideally the DG's are located somewhat close to where the highest demand fluctuation will be, to limit electrical transmission losses.

      1. I could be a dog really

        Re: RAIDG

        And still is to a certain extent - lookup STOR (short term operating reserve). To a certain extent, a lot of what was previously managed by STOR is now managed by selling interruptible tariffs to large industrial users (as in, you pay less, but when we call you to cut your consumption, you do it in seconds) - and now starting to come to domestic users via (so called) "smart" meters.

        OK, this is now a fairly old article, but the basics haven't changed all that much - apart from there being more renewables and more closed power plants.

  4. First Light Silver badge

    Three percent

    Of global electrical use, for what purpose? So Google can know everything about everybody? How about all these data-hoarding companies ditch half their data every five years. Does Amazon really need to keep track of every item you have purchased and every address you have ever used for all time? Can they at least get rid of data on dead people? There are vast collections of massively unnecessary data, and when they are put to some use, it's often purely to make more money from, and assert more control over, all of us.

    1. OhForF'

      Re: Three percent

      How about all these data-hoarding companies ditch half their data every five years.

      They'd love to but can't agree on which half to keep.

  5. Snowy Silver badge

    Just stop oil protesters.

    Are they all going to stop buying anything from anyone who uses any part of Amazon now?

  6. NeilPost Silver badge

    Nukes ?

    Surely a good option for partnership with Rolls Royce and their small modular nuclear power plants (evolved from submarine technology).

    Amazon Prime Nuclear ??

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Nukes ?

      Hey, we'll have none of that logical talk here. We're discussing Amazon and datacenters and fossil fuels

  7. ShortStuff

    Wait A Minute ..

    What about Global Warming? All those dirty nasty diesel generators will produce more greenhouse gases than a nation full of cow farts !! And the diesel is almost gone. It would be better used in the trucks that transport food to the grocery stores.

    1. I could be a dog really

      Re: Wait A Minute ..

      There is no shortage of diesel - and won't be for maaaaany years even if we didn't reduce demand at all over the years. C.f. The No Breakfast Fallacy.

      The scene is an early morning current affairs radio show. Very important people talk to the nation here.

      Evan Humphries (for it is he): “Mr. Worstall, why is it that your new report shows that soon all will be dead?”

      Worstall: “Evan, it’s 7 am. Currently there is food in the fridges of the nation for breakfast. But in two hours time that will be eaten, gone, there will be no more. Therefore everyone will die because NO BREAKFAST.”

  8. kmurf

    I think this article has a fear mongering spin to it. Data centers worldwide are installed with back up generators in case utility supply fails - this is 101 in data center design and would have been implemented irregardless of the concerns regarding electricity supply in Ireland and the EU this winter

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