Piller Power Systems US and the Power Solutions Division of Langley Holdings attended the Microgrid Knowledge 2024 Conference in Baltimore to talk about their Power of 10 modular hybrid microgrid power solution.

Across the three days of the conference many discussions focussed on where data centers will find the power to make the AI revolution a reality.  There was consensus on the urgency of this issue given US Grid utility power delivery delays.

There is broad agreement that the only way to feasibly power AI data centers is through on-site generation.

This is accepted in the data center industry. In its global data center outlook report published earlier this year property management company JLL referred to the squeeze on power. Andy Cvengros, Managing Director, U.S. Data Center Markets, JLL, said: “In addition to location and design considerations, data center operators are starting to explore alternative power sourcing strategies for onsite power generation including small modular reactors (SMRs), hydrogen fuel cells and natural gas. With power grids becoming effectively tapped out and transformers having more than three-year lead times, operators will need to innovate.”

It is notable is how quickly this reality has arrived. The surging power demand of AI has been well documented. Data center developments are already pointing to GW scale campuses being planned. Recent data center press articles have carried headlines such as The Gigawatt Data Center Campus is Coming.

As described, this is at a time when traditional grids have little or no capacity to spare and utility connection queues are lengthening. In fact in its first post event newsletter Microgrid Knowledge.com’s lead article was: “No Fast Passes in the Waiting Line: Interconnection Queues Are Getting Longer”

Canary Media, a specialist energy publisher reported: “The sheer scale of growth needed is staggering. Achieving the Biden administration’s goal of a zero-carbon grid by 2035 will require 75,000 miles of new high-voltage lines — enough to stretch from Los Angeles to New York City and back 15 times — according to an estimate from Princeton University’s Repeat Project.”

Major news outlets have also covered the topic of power access. Resurgent US electricity demand sparks power grid warnings (12.01.2024) (FT.com) “US electricity demand is booming after years of stagnation, driven by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and electric vehicles and prompting warnings over the stability of the power grid.”

The Power of 10 Microgrids

To avoid the squeeze data centers need microgrid solutions that scale.

That is why Piller as part of the Power Solutions Division has developed The Power of 10 hybrid microgrid solution as an on-site power generation, conditioning and stabilisation infrastructure solution for powering AI and hyperscale data centers.

The Power of 10 combines 10MW Bergen Engines medium speed gas engines with specially designed Marelli Motori alternators and Piller’s IPCS conditioning and stabilisation technology which allows data centers to grow their microgrids in blocks of 10MW. The Power of 10 provides sustainable, long term on site power generation. Its modular design allows sites to scale as needed as demand grows for example from 30MW to 300MW and can accommodate GW scale power delivery.

The data center industry (alongside other power intensive sectors such as semiconductor manufacturing) are caught in between the seismic forces of surging demand and power constraints from an energy system in transition to clean but intermittent renewables.

Energy transition is reshaping relationships across the entire energy ecosystem value chain.
Hundreds of megawatts of on site power at campuses and facilities with gas and hydrogen powered generation, across grid integrated, independent or hybrid microgrids for demand response will see traditional energy intensive users become suppliers to the grid.

This is the new power reality. Those looking for sustainable power to drive the AI revolution (alongside all energy intensive industrial sectors) tasked with seeking ways to navigate the power landscape and address a power security conundrum that is so concerning to all should explore The Power of 10 Whitepaper.

View Dean Richards’ 2023 interview with Microgrid Knowledge where he discusses the future of Microgrid designs for on site power generation for data centres.

Left to right; Elvis Thanaj, Marelli Motori US, Katherine Watson, Piller Power Systems Inc. and Dean Richards, President CEO, Piller Power Systems Inc. at Microgrid Knowledge 2024.

Share blog post