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Crucial infrastructure relies on good power management, Eaton shares the ultimate solution

By Mitchell Hageman
Mon 18 Jul 2022

So many crucial strands of infrastructure rely on effective power management to run successfully. The challenge for industries with high power consumption rates, such as data centers, is the need to manage and maintain efficient use of energy which has become increasingly critical in their operations.

A 2020 industry report by WePower highlighted the fact that there is a substantial amount of energy consumption in the data center space. The report found that “the data center sector in Australia alone is responsible for more than 4% of national energy consumption, second only to the resources sector."

While usage and consumption are high, so is the overall demand for electricity. This can create widespread problems that go beyond just data centers, which is why power management systems are so important in creating balance.
 
CSIRO picked up on this in their May 2021 analysis of Data Center energy in Australia, with research saying that “absolute energy consumption is not the only concern,” and that “growth in the size, number and nature of data centers has the potential to have localised effects that go beyond the impact of data centers on electricity consumption."

The report continued, “for instance, in Ireland and Northern Ireland, the creation and expansion of data centers will be a key driver of significant increase in future electricity demand, and may cause up to 29% of overall demand in that region by 2028 (EirGrid and SONI, 2019)”.

It was also reported that amidst concerns with the growth of data centers and the existing less efficient data centers, the NABERS Data center rating was introduced to help provide better scope.

“This assessment helps data centers use energy more wisely, reducing the data center's energy bill. Raising the rating from three to five stars translates roughly to a US$1.5 million saving per year," according to the rating system’s website.

With up to 60% of the data centers’ operating expenditure attributed to power cost, it is imperative for facility managers to maintain their assets and equipment to maximise lifetime and efficiency. In addition to hardware, companies such as Eaton has introduced their Electrical Power Monitoring System (EPMS) to help data center operators intelligently monitor energy and power consumption throughout the entire operation of the site remotely and with real-time data.

Why an EPMS is critical to optimising energy and power management

Part of Eaton’s Brightlayer Data Center Suite, Eaton’s EPMS – Foreseer - connects an operation’s vast array of devices into a single platform which offers real-time power and environmental system monitoring, whether at a single facility or multiple locations.

Eaton Foreseer integrates seamlessly regardless of manufacturer or model to help data centers and enterprises reduce energy consumption and help avoid unplanned downtime due to the system failure.

Foreseer allows you to monitor the power consumption along the power train - from high, medium to low voltage, electrical rooms to data halls. It also tracks the quality of the power coming into the power ecosystem. The software is smart enough to pick up on anomalies and disturbances, which enables you to put in place strategies to improve and optimise power management. This in turn drives overall operation efficiency and profitability,” says John Atherton, General Manager A/NZ, Eaton Electrical, Power Quality division. 
 
A full list of Foreseers’ features includes:

  • Monitor, visualise and analyse everything from a single site to many distributed sites
  • Agnostic and remote access
  • Capacity planning
  • Proactive power usage monitoring
  • Environmental safety trends
  • Alarms and warning solutions

BMS vs EPMS

Most facilities may already employ a Building Management System (BMS) to control and monitor their core electrical and mechanical equipment. Generally,

BMS platforms are used to keep an eye on heating and ventilation systems, as well as lighting, security, fire safety, plumbing and water systems. They can be used to provide detection of electrical system issues through basic alarm and control notifications. 

An EPMS platform can offer intelligent and detailed power quality data on the electrical distribution network that goes far beyond what is capable with a BMS.

By providing detailed analysis and reporting on power quality and other important metrics, facility managers can perform analysis to optimize energy use and identify opportunities to reduce electrical power consumption.

EPMS platform, such as Eaton Foreseer, also provide full-scale integration of third-party products and other critical facility systems, including the BMS, security systems and fire-alarm systems. Through this capability, users can easily compile complex data across multiple facilities into a unified management platform for informed decision-making.

Sustainability and integration

With more organisations aiming for efficiency when relating to their carbon output, they are also thinking carefully about the power management systems they use. The Eaton Foreseer solution champions sustainability and sustainable outcomes, helping create better carbon-related decisions while still maintaining maximum efficiency.

Adding to the company's focus on enhanced agility, the solution also enables integration with Reporting Services software to produce reports from the output of the EPMS. In addition, Foreseer works in conjunction with Eaton's VPM and VCOM solutions to provide a holistic management suite for your critical environment.

Lessening the burden of setup is another feature that Eaton provides its valued customers, through locally based engineers and technicians who can customise and configure the Forseer technology to maximise the effectiveness and value.

With many enterprises under the guise that strands like cooling, gas and electricity are unrelated, they are seriously hindering their future and putting their power systems at risk. Using the Foreseer solution can take the hassle out of power management and not only prevent catastrophic results but create better, more efficient outcomes.

View a demonstration of Foreseer here.

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