Power tops lists of concerns for data centre developers in Europe

27 July 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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The availability of power is the most important factor in the decision-making process for a new data centre, according to new research.

Almost three-quarters of 3,000 senior data centre professionals across Europe cited it as their "number one driving choice" in the 14th annual Summer Report from BCS (Business Critical Solutions) and research house IX Consulting.

This year, however, the responses mark an increase on the 62% who cited it as their top concern last winter. Further, amongst developer and investor respondents – the survey canvassed owners, operators, developers, consultants and end users – the ability to have access to a secure and economic power source is rated even more highly, with around 85% placing it first.

James Hart, CEO at BCS, said: “The fortunes of the data centre industry are inextricably linked to the ability to source and utilise power in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. The impact of power runs across every aspect of the market from informing decisions on data centre site selection, through the design and construction phases and the operation of such facilities. With forecast growth for digital services likely to remain substantial, the industry continues to respond to power issues created as a result, with the question of sustainability arguably never so important as it is today.

“We believe that utilities is a specialist area that is often overlooked, with many organisations unaware of the flexibility that is a result of deregulation and that efficiencies which can be as high as 80% with the right solution. In response to this we recently launched BCS Utilities, as part of the BCS Group, which operates internationally on offsite utility procurement and delivery strategies, offsite generally referring to the project utility networks adopted, owned and operated by statutory regulated undertakers or third-party independent network providers.”

On consumption, BCS said its the latest survey confirms that around three-quarters expect their levels of consumption to rise over the next three years, a proportion marginally above the long-term tracked average. More than two-fifths expect this rise to be significant whilst a further 19% expect their levels of consumption to at least remain stable. Notably, despite increased efficiency of systems – and targets to reduce non-renewable energy use – only 8% are expecting to see a reduction.

Elsewhere in the report, two-thirds of respondents believe that an expected rise in power costs in Europe will see demand levels for power efficient data centre space rise over the next three years. Among service providers, some 76% shared this view whilst 84% of developer and investor respondents concurred, whilst just 40% of end-users were in agreement.