Data centres could play a crucial role in supporting the grid and greater integration of renewables in Europe by 2030, providing a potential 16.9GW of flexible capacity across the UK, Germany, Ireland, Norway and the Netherlands, says research company BloombergNEF in a new report.

Power demand from data centres in these five markets is expected to reach 5.4GW by the end of the decade, which is far lower than their expected capacity of 11.9GW, states the report.

data-centreData centres could play a crucial role in supporting the grid in Europe by 2030. (Photo by Gorodenkoff via

Data centres receive power via an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Excess power from the UPS could be stored in backup generation and made available to the grid when necessary.

However, data centre operators remain hesitant to support the power system, fearing it may jeopardise the reliability of computing power for their customers. Only 3.8GW of flexibility might materialise by 2030, the report warns.

Data centre operators have little experience with power system flexibility and need to build confidence in the concept. The report proposes a series of pilots to explore the potential capacity and address concerns on the impact on performance.