TotalÉnergies subsidiary Saft has delivered four battery energy storage systems to replace diesel backup generators at a Microsoft data centre in Sweden.
Globally, data centres account for more than 1% of the electricity sector’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, writes Microgrid Knowledge. “A study by Canadian researchers found that the energy used for an hour’s worth of generator tests at an average data centre is equal to a day’s worth of power at a 125-unit housing complex.”
But power outages can be expensive, costing as much as $1 million for limited disconnections, making backup generators crucial. With its recent battery addition, Microsoft moves closer to its goal of company-wide diesel-free data centres by 2030, for which it is also exploring energy sources like solar, renewable gas, and small modular nuclear reactors.
Microsoft and Saft have an agreement dating back to 2021 to exchange technology expertise and services. Saft provides a battery energy storage system (BESS) to Microsoft while the tech giant supports the digital transformation at Total. The BESS for Microsoft provides four independent units that each supply four megawatt-hours of backup storage, enough to cover an 80-minute outage. The installation was deployed over 16 months to displace an unspecified number of diesel generators.
Microsoft has previously faced opposition in Sweden for its reliance on diesel, writes Data Center Dynamics. Three of its data facilities in the Sweden Central region had generators using 50% renewable diesel, and in 2022, the company had asked to add 70 megawatts of diesel backup at one centre. It withdrew that request following protests and announced it was looking for other sites in southern Sweden instead.
Microsoft ultimately withdrew plans to move, saying it would continue to operate and expand operations at the existing centres, but only with the reserve power units that were already in place. It was not clear how the company could expand without more backup power of some kind, Data Center Dynamics wrote at the time.