Some thoughts, somewhat researched but relevant to ‘cloud wins all’ debate. Electricity is a commodity, why do cloud companies need to build their own power supplies and transmission networks.
…. the two biggest solar farms will be able to produce around 150 megawatts each. These solar sites will be among the largest renewable energy projects in the Tennessee Valley region, and the largest solar farms ever to be built for Google. Thanks to the abundant solar power generated by these new farms, electricity consumed by our data centers in Tennessee and Alabama will be matched with 100 percent renewable energy from day one, helping us match our annual electricity consumption as we grow.
- Solar power is cheaper than coal or gas today. Forward projections show solar to be cheaper than nuclear in a few years
- 300 Megawatts is a substantial amount of power. Is there spare capacity from power stations in the area to deliver ?
- Solar power can be deployed quickly. Power stations take a decade to decide, approve and build
- power redundancy – in case of downtime on power grid or generators, extra sources improve supply reliablity to location. (At this scale, diesel or gas generators aren’t going to last)
- pricing power – supplier diversity improves negotiating position
- Green power meets corporate social sustainability goals, a nice PR win
- No mention of transmission networks but this is major issue in the USA where the electrical grid is in degraded condition due to lack of investment.
Its nice to see carbon-free power being created locally but I suspect the larger reasons of cost savings and supply diversity are true motivators.
Why we’re putting 1.6 million solar panels in Tennessee and Alabama : https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/sustainability/why-were-putting-16-million-solar-panels-tennessee-and-alabama/