ARKANSAS, Oct 5 (Future Headlines)- Energy storage provider Saft has partnered with tech giant Microsoft to replace diesel backup power generators at one of Microsoft’s data centers in Sweden. This project is part of Microsoft’s broader initiative to make its data centers diesel-free by 2030 and transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

Microsoft is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and has set ambitious decarbonization goals. Among these goals is the aim to eliminate the use of diesel backup generators at its data centers, a crucial step in reducing carbon emissions associated with its operations. The company is exploring various energy resources, including solar, battery storage, renewable natural gas, and even small modular nuclear technology, to achieve its objectives.

Diesel backup generators are traditionally used to ensure uninterrupted power supply to data centers during grid outages. By transitioning to cleaner and more reliable alternatives, Microsoft is taking a significant step toward achieving its long-term sustainability goals.

Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, has played a crucial role in this endeavor by delivering a battery energy storage system to replace diesel generators. The project involved the installation of four battery energy storage systems, each with a capacity of 4 MWh and the capability to provide 80 minutes of on-site power. These systems are designed to safeguard the data center’s operations during grid disruptions.

The project comprises eight Intensium Max 20 High Energy containers organized into four groups, each with a peak power rating of 3 MW. This setup ensures that the data center has a reliable and efficient source of backup power without relying on diesel generators.

Eoin Doherty, General Manager for the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) group within Microsoft Cloud Operations and Innovation, emphasized the importance of finding alternatives to diesel backup generators in the context of Microsoft’s sustainability goals. He highlighted the company’s commitment to becoming carbon-negative by 2030, which includes removing all the carbon it has emitted from the environment since its founding in 1975.

Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, expressed pride in supporting Microsoft’s decarbonization efforts in data centers. He underscored the significance of battery energy storage systems in reducing the carbon footprint of the digital industry. Saft’s collaboration with Microsoft has demonstrated the substantial potential of such systems in achieving decarbonization goals.

Data center outages can be financially costly, with even limited disconnections potentially costing as much as $1 million. Moreover, data centers are known to consume a significant amount of energy. Research conducted by Canadian experts found that the energy consumed during an hour of generator testing at an average data center is equivalent to a day’s worth of power for a housing complex with 125 units.

Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability goes beyond addressing diesel backup generators. The company is actively exploring various avenues to reduce its environmental impact. Recently, Microsoft posted a job opening for a high-level nuclear program manager to explore the potential use of small modular reactors or microreactors to support artificial intelligence and cloud data centers in the future. Additionally, Microsoft has explored partnerships to incorporate renewable natural gas into its data center operations, exemplified by its collaboration with Texas-based microgrid developer Enchanted Rock.

Data centers play a substantial role in global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, these facilities account for over 1% of both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector worldwide. Microsoft’s commitment to decarbonizing its data centers serves as an example of how tech giants are actively working to reduce their environmental footprint and transition to more sustainable energy sources, contributing to broader efforts to combat climate change.

Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White