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Wind powered computer farms

Variations on a theme: why do we need the Moon, if we have Alaska
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

Please have a look at the world wind power potential map [link].

Then have a look at the world's high speed fibre-optic submarine cable map, which connects the continents [link].

Now combine them: there's plenty of top wind on the Aleutian Archipelago, and this place is near to the transpacific lines. The same with Newfoundland, near to the transatlantic lines. Both hubs serve a huge market (the East-Asian - North American market, and the European - North American market).

Both these regions have lots of windpower potential, but nobody lives there, so it's not feasible to put wind turbines there to transport electricity to populated centres.

The only reason we are putting wind turbines there is to power our huge server farm, which is naturally cooled by the chilly temperatures of the Aleutians and Newfoundland.

Instead of exporting the electricity over long distances, which would involve huge line-losses, we export data and computing power, through our fibre-optic submarine cable, which is connected to main, existing cables.

Energy is becoming the single most important cost in server farms and data centres [link].

As the joke now goes: "utilities will soon begin to offer you a free server farm if you sign a power contract with them."

Peak oil, the world's energy crisis, may soon turn into a planetary computing crisis, a Google engineer warns. [link]

django, Jun 06 2006

World's wind power potential http://www.worldcha.../images/windmap.jpg
Check the red dots [django, Jun 06 2006]

Submarine optical fibre cables http://www.cybergeo...s/alcatel_large.gif
Easy to hook Newfoundland and the Aleutians on to them [django, Jun 06 2006]

Google warns of spiralling energy costs http://news.zdnet.c...363,39241045,00.htm
It could soon cost more to power you server than buy it, according to a Google engineer [django, Jun 06 2006]

sahara Sahara_20Shared_20Computing
[zeno, Jun 08 2006]


       Is there any reason to believe that the performance per Watt *won't* improve? It's been going up pretty dramatically in the past.
jutta, Jun 06 2006

       [jutta], is there any reason to believe that, improvements in performance/watt or no, our power "requirements" will NOT continue to increase? Besides, this sort of arrangement will free up power elsewhere for other things. Not to mention that the areas suggested would love the extra income.
NoOneYouKnow, Jun 06 2006

       Sure Jutta, but the question is: does the performance per Watt curve goes up as fast as energy prices? And this is obviously not the case. Energy prices have risen 300% in the past 4 years. What has performance per Watt done? And given Peak Oil, we now know that energy prices will never ever again come down.   

       I'm not a computer engineer, but do you see room for huge energy efficiency increases, double next year, double the year after, and so on?   

       When oil stands at US$ 100 per barrel (soon), and natural gas goes US$ 20 per MMbtu, then we could face a real planetary data crisis.
django, Jun 06 2006

       Why isnt there a red dot on Washington DC? We should put a turbine on roof of the Congress to catch the hot air rising.
MoreCowbell, Jun 06 2006

       [marked–for-deletion] redundant, see link. I mean come on, is everybody going to come up with ideas derived from the sahara idea? What's next, windpowered computing on venus, fart powered computing for rednecks? leave it alone or go annotate at the sahara idea.
zeno, Jun 08 2006

       This is a good alternative to the Sahara as a location. With the difference that in this set up you will build regular computer farms in this particular location. In the Sahara concept the assumption is that the 'farm' will evolve by itself. Bring a fibre-optic cable to the Sahara and see what happens. In the Alaska case there is already a connection, only the wind powered computerfarm is missing.   

       Both concepts have its merits I would say. +
rrr, Jun 08 2006

       I just visited a windfarm this weekend-beautifully sculptural, peaceful, and windy-the farmers crops covered the land right up to the base of the 50+ towers.
AH, Jun 09 2006

       The hard part of course being attracting qualified tech support staff to the Aleutians (or the Sahara)   

       In fact (grr) there's rather a lot of sun in Southern California, so I hear. As well as access to one or two large pipes and a smattering of educated folk. How about mandatory renewable energy purchasing for all new server farms and expansions?
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 11 2006

       [Zeno] it's not redundant, is it? This idea has many advantages over the Sahara idea. In the Sahara, you would be spending all your energy on cooling your server farm, so it's not feasible. Moreover, you'd have to build new cable connections.   

       In above proposal, the server farm is cooled by ambient chilly temperatures (a major advantage), allowing you to spend more energy on powering the servers than you would in normal places (the Sahara idea would be losing all energy on cooling). Moreover, it taps into existing cable infrastructures.   

       Two quite different proposals, I think.
django, Aug 09 2007


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