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A new study shows “grid instability” continues to pose energy security challenges for European data centers.

Energy provider Aggreko has published a white paper that details the problems that data center operators in Europe are facing when it comes to securing stable energy sources. The report, titled ‘Uptime on the Line‘, is a two-part whitepaper based on a survey of 700 data center professionals consulting for large businesses in the UK and the EU.

The report aimed to glean some insight on a range of topics. It examined the state of current grid infrastructure, power outages, local energy prices and supply chain delays. The report also sought to establish how these issues are affecting facility construction and operations.

Researchers detail the concerns of operators in the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Germany over their ability to meet the energy demands of their facilities over the next five years. French respondents were more optimistic – perhaps due to the French national commitment to a comprehensive nuclear power grid.

“Volatile energy pricing, a degraded supply chain and growing awareness of the sector’s high rate of
consumption all jeopardise its aim to remain online more than 99% of the time”, the report says.

Access and pricing both pose risks

Operators in the EU countries were worried about being able to source sufficient energy on a consistent basis. “Grid shortcomings are common throughout Europe, and they lack a clear or immediate fix”, Guido Neijmeijer, European leader of datacenters at Aggreko, wrote in the report. “Neijmeijer said there were opportunities in “Greener Upgrades“, such as more use of batteries, diesel generators and hybrid generation.

UK operators were not so much concerned with access as they were worried about cost. Prices per KwH in the UK are nearly twice the average cost of electricity in the US. Indeed, prices across the EU have also risen sharply in the wake of the sanctions on cheap, reliable Russian energy. For many member states, the move away from piped in Russian gas towards US LNG (at several times the price) have caused energy costs to skyrocket.

The report noted an exception in the Nordic countries, which have wider and more reliable access to renewable energy.