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Journal Articles IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing Year : 2023

Renewable Energy in Data Centers: the Dilemma of Electrical Grid Dependency and Autonomy Costs

Abstract

Integrating larger shares of renewables in data centers' electrical mix is mandatory to reduce their carbon footprint. However, as they are intermittent and fluctuating, renewable energies alone cannot provide a 24/7 supply and should be combined with a secondary source. Finding the optimal infrastructure configuration for both renewable production and financial costs remains difficult. In this paper, we examine three scenarios with on-site renewable energy sources combined respectively with the electrical grid, batteries alone and batteries with hydrogen storage systems. The objectives are first, to size optimally the electric infrastructure using combinations of standard microgrids approaches, secondly to quantify the level of grid utilization when data centers consume/ export electricity from/to the grid, to determine the level of effort required from the grid operator, and finally to analyze the cost of 100% autonomy provided by the battery-based configurations and to discuss their economical viability. Our results show that in the grid-dependent mode, 63.1% of the generated electricity has to be injected into the grid and retrieved later. In the autonomous configurations, the cheapest one including hydrogen storage leads to a unit cost significantly more expensive than the electricity supplied from a national power system in many countries.
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hal-04189173 , version 1 (28-08-2023)

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Wedan Emmanuel Gnibga, Anne Blavette, Anne-Cécile Orgerie. Renewable Energy in Data Centers: the Dilemma of Electrical Grid Dependency and Autonomy Costs. IEEE Transactions on Sustainable Computing, 2023, pp.1-13. ⟨10.1109/TSUSC.2023.3307790⟩. ⟨hal-04189173⟩
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