Google says that YouTube vid can wait if it saves on energy

No you don't need to see Mr Beast as much as that local utility needs to power hospitals

Google has run a pilot to cut datacenter power consumption during periods of peak demand.

This is done by shifting some non-urgent compute tasks to other times or different locations, the company said in a blog post.

The move builds on the demand response support in Google's carbon-intelligent computing platform developed for its hyperscale datacenters, which allows it to temporarily reduce power consumption at a site during times when there is high stress on the local power grid.

First announced in 2020, the carbon-intelligent computing platform was created to shift the timing of non-urgent compute tasks, such as YouTube video processing or adding new words to Google Translate, to periods when low-carbon power sources like wind and solar are most readily available, the company said at the time.

This was introduced for the purposes of minimizing the CO2 emissions from Google’s infrastructure. Now, the Chocolate Factory reckons the same capability can be invoked when it is called on to reduce power by utility companies or grid operators.

According to Google, if it receives notification from a grid operator of a forecast incident, such as a warning about an extreme weather event that might impact electricity supply, the company can flag this in its global computing planning system.

This will then generate hour-by-hour instructions for specified datacenters to limit non-urgent compute tasks for the duration of the incident, rescheduling them afterwards. Where possible, some of those tasks can be rerouted to a datacenter elsewhere on a different power grid.

Google says its demand response feature has already been tested, such as in Europe last winter when there was an energy crisis following the invasion of Ukraine. Google implemented measures from December 2022 through March 2023, including scheduling daily power reductions during peak periods across datacenters.

It implemented a similar policy in some US states during recent extreme weather events including heat waves and winter storms that increased local power demand and caused a surge in energy prices.

The intention is to work with other large energy users, grid suppliers and policy makers to implement similar demand-side flexibility to help make power grids more efficient.

Elsewhere, Microsoft has replaced the diesel backup power generators at its datacenter in Sweden with a 16MWh battery system.

Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, delivered a battery energy storage system (BESS) to replace the diesel generators at the datacenter, which became operational in June this year. It uses four groups of 4 MWh each to provide up to 80 minutes of backup power.

“Finding alternatives to diesel backup is an important step towards our 2030 goal to become carbon negative,” Microsoft Cloud Operations & Innovation general manager Eoin Doherty said.

Microsoft has also previously tested out hydrogen fuel cell systems as a replacement for diesel backup generators at its datacenters. ®

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