Global companies win award for Australian VPP grid support program


The award was given to Enel X for its work with Digital Realty, which has enrolled two of its Australian sites in Enel X’s VPP, which has allowed the company to innovate how it consumes energy to support the grid security and reliability.

The award, which recognises cutting-edge technology solutions, was given to the companies for the innovative way the two data centres have been made available to switch over to their uninterruptible power source (UPS) and backup generation, allowing additional capacity as part of the VPP. This is done to both build resilience and reduce pressure on the grid at peak times.

“By participating in Enel X’s VPP, we have improved our mission critical infrastructure to ensure the highest standard of preparation in case of a power grid failure. VPP participation gives a true test of mission critical equipment, including UPS and backup generation assets, with the safety net of grid power to switch back to if required,” Vice President of Operations for Digital Realty’s Asia Pacific region, Jon Curry, said in a statement.

Enel X is one of a number of companies to jump aboard the VPP train in Australia, cashing in on the growing market seeking to stabilise Australia’s notoriously rickety grids. The company’s Head of Asia and Oceania, Jeff Renaud, told the Australian Financial Review last year that its ambition was to become the largest frequency control and ancillary services (FCAS) supplier in the country.

Enel X works with a number of commercial and industrial businesses to deliver the aggregated “virtual capacity” from all participants to the grid, but as the companies outlined in the statement, Digital Realty did not require capital expenditure investment in additional equipment to participate in the VPP, and instead uses existing assets and receives availability payments for being on call.

Data centres more broadly are well suited to VPP participation because they use a large volume of electricity that is relatively consistent, providing a predictable amount of load to support the grid when needed. They can transfer to their reliable backup power sources quickly and completely in case of a grid outage.

“Being on call to use less energy from the grid at critical times is fundamental to enabling more power generation from intermittent renewables like solar and wind, which reduce carbon emissions and the cost of energy for all consumers. Participation also helps to prevent larger power outages and reduces the need to build more carbon-emitting power plants. We are thankful to Digital Realty and their supportive customers for leading the way in this space,” Renaud said in the statement.

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