Towards green data center microgrids by leveraging data center loads in providing frequency regulation

Document Type : Article


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clarkson University, Potsdam, 13699, NY, USA.



In an electricity grid, imbalance between generation and load need be corrected within seconds so that frequency deviations will not threaten the stability and security. This is especially important for a low inertia microgrid operated in islanded mode, which is equipped with a limited number of synchronous generators in regulating frequency. To this end, for data center microgrid with limited on-site generators and increased green energy, when isolated from the utility grid, frequency deviation due to generation-load imbalance could be potentially corrected by conventional generating units as well as data center loads. Focusing on high PV penetrated data center microgrid operated in islanded mode, this paper explores effective control strategies for data center loads to participate in primary frequency response. By analyzing unique operational characteristics of traditional and PV generation units, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, and power consumption characteristics of IT components and cooling systems, the proposed load control strategy design effectively utilizes primary FR capabilities while not compromising data center quality of service (QoS) requirements. Numerical simulations via MATLAB/Simulink illustrate effectiveness of the proposed load control strategy in enhancing renewable energy penetration without compromising the system stability and security, providing a viable solution for future green data centers.