Following its launch of the Blackout report, an in-depth analysis of how likely the UK is to experience a nationwide electricity failure, Riello UPS General Manager Leo Craig explains why other sectors should follow the data centre industry’s approach to power continuity
It was just a few weeks ago in mid-June when more than 50 million people across South America were plunged into darkness after a massive sudden power failure.
Virtually the whole of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay were left without electricity after a failure to correctly reconfigure an emergency system following the upgrade of a power transmission line triggered a complete grid collapse.
The aftermath of such a huge international incident immediately brings to mind the question “could something similar ever happen here in the UK?”. Coincidence or not, that’s exactly what we’d been investigating in the weeks prior to the South American outage, research which finally culminates now with the launch of our new analysis the Blackout report.
Clocking in at more than 50 pages and nearly 15,000 words, we believe it’s the most comprehensive look yet into whether the UK could experience a complete grid shutdown (spoiler alert: there’s a 1-in-200 chance during the next five years), the threats which are most likely to cause such a failure, and what the catastrophic consequences would be for today’s digitally-dominated society.
As a company which works with a significant number of server room operators and other IT-related businesses, we know just how seriously the data centre industry takes the issue of power continuity. That’s why we dedicated an entire section of the Blackout report to outlining the painstaking plans data centre operators put in place to mitigate against the risk of power-related downtime.
Resilience Requires Redundancy
Data centres are right at the very heart of today’s ‘always on’ internet-driven world, so anything less than near 100 percent availability for their clients results in damaging downtime that can cost millions of pounds and cause a massive reputational hit.
For entirely understandable reasons, concepts like redundancy are almost second nature throughout the industry. Data centres also install uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) that provide enough emergency energy for servers and essential equipment to keep running until the backup generators, either diesel or gas-powered, come online and pick up the slack.