Argonne National Laboratory

Data Centers as Dispatchable Loads to Harness Stranded Power

TitleData Centers as Dispatchable Loads to Harness Stranded Power
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsKim, K, Yang, F, Zavala, VM, Chien, AA
JournalIEEE Transactions on Sustainable Energy
Other NumbersANL/MCS-P5579-0316
AbstractWe analyze how both traditional data center integration and dispatchable load integration affect grid dynamics and efficiency. Our analysis uses parallel optimization solvers, 1000’s of renewable generation scenarios, and running thousands of simulations. These enable us to perform sophisticated analysis, including rigorous grid performance modeling. For example, we evaluate scenarios of optimal placement of dispatchable loads in a realistic power grid system and assesses performance in the face of myriad wind and load scenarios. Our analysis reveals that significant spillage and stranded power exists in current power grids. Adding data centers with collocating renewable generation (wind farms) can be harmful to RPS goals, increases both stranded power and thermal generation. In contrast, adding data centers that are dispatchable by the power grid both reduces stranded power and improves both grid cost and stability, even at high RPS. In short, dispatchable loads can enable grid scaling to high RPS. These dispatchable computing loads achieve duty factors of 60-80%.