Can Microsoft’s data centers become big batteries for the grid?

A server room at a Microsoft data center. Data centers like this have lithium-ion batteries that keep their systems running in the event of a power outage. | Image: Microsoft

Microsoft says its data centers could soon provide backup power to electric grids transitioning to renewable energy. The data centers already have lithium-ion batteries on-site so that they can keep running during a power outage. Now, that backup system could also shore up grids in need of more batteries to store energy produced by growing numbers of solar panels or wind farms.

That kind of energy storage is absolutely critical for any city or region trying to get its grid to run on renewables. Microsoft’s newest data center in Dublin, Ireland, due to come online next year, will be the company’s first full-scale attempt at providing that service.

Energy storage is absolutely critical

Unlike coal or gas, solar and wind energy ebb and…

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