data centers may become backup for the grid.
by rick richardson
technology this week
large data centers need power backup to operate without interruption. they rely on enormous banks of lithium-ion batteries to provide instantaneous power when the standard power supplied by the local grid fails. those lithium-ion batteries could soon help local power grids manage energy demand.
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any city or region that gets its power from renewables is subject to the whim of the weather. unlike fossil-based energy, renewable energy sources ebb and flow. these grids’ battery systems provide power when the renewable sources ebb and recharge when they flow.
microsoft realized it could partner with local power grids where its data centers are located worldwide and offer to store that renewable power in their battery backup systems. today, sophisticated data centers operate with what are known as “uninterruptible power supply systems.” these systems include a bank of batteries that kick in the instant the power goes out and may operate for only a few minutes until the backup generators are up and running.