“Everybody is Looking at Migration” say Willdan Energy Insiders at New Jersey Data Center Workshop
by Josh Anderson
JERSEY CITY, NJ — At CapRE’s Data Center Operations, Architecture, and Engineering Workshop in New Jersey on October 26, 2017, we heard from numerous Tri-State Area data center insiders about some of the most pressing issues facing data center operators recently. One issue perpetually part of the data center conversation is energy generation, so we asked some regional leaders from WIlldan Energy Solutions what they’ve been up to and who they’re working with lately.
First up was Shrenik Ajmera, Manager – Energy Efficiency at Willdan. “We work with both enterprise and colocation providers in NY,” began Ajmera. “Our clients range from Digital Realty to Sabey Data Centers to Morgan Stanley. There are two types of projects we get involved in. One is when data centers are looking to expand their facilities and they’re looking to leverage some of the incentive and rebates available from their city or state program. We help them by doing energy studies and helping them offset their capital costs.”
“The other is replacing aging infrastructure,” Willdan continued. “A lot of times, if data centers have equipment that is nearing the end of life, and it needs an upgrade. We help with the commissioning and design portion and in the process we look for any incentives or rebates they can get from a state utility.”
Next up was Tejas Desai, PE, CEM, EBCP, CDSM, CEA & Engineering Program Director at Willdan. “We have more clients in New Jersey,” he shared (as opposed to New York City). “We actually look at two aspects of it. One is the IT side. There are opportunities out there where folks are doing IT upgrades and many people aren’t aware that there are incentives available when they’re looking at things like server consolidation, server replacement, storage replacement. As well as on the power, HVAC and mechanical side, there are additional incentives available out there from state or utility programs. We do work with both sides of these customers. We help them capture incentives for green upgrades. Many times they say that we more than pay for our own services as well as help them capture additional money to help with other things in their data centers.”
Desai then offered up some insight into the latest activity has witnessed. “With prevailing costs and the changes happening in the energy side of data, everybody is looking at migration,” he recalled. “Migration of data centers is the biggest thing we’re seeing in New Jersey. Colocation facilities and data centers on the New York side of the fence are moving toward the New Jersey side. They’re able to capture the utility cost reduction and they’re also able to benefit from incentives to build a data center in New Jersey. And they’re not too far from the New York side of the fence.”
“One other thing we’re seeing is renewable,” he divulged. “That’s one item people are exploring. We’ve been working with a lot of financial type customers who are looking at a combination of solar and battery storage. Some folks are looking at the distributed generation side of things. They’re maxing out on their power that’s provided to their location, and now they have to look for a way to reduce power consumption or come up with how to bring additional power in. Are you going to go to a utility or come up with your own through distributed generation or the renewable side of it?”