If You Want “Green Energy” Be Prepared To Give Up Google And Facebook
Environmentalist zealots demand that American companies use so-called “green energy” for their facilities. Specifically energies like solar power and wind power, and they’ve even been successful in winning some commitments from companies to use that sort of power. Apple is the most recent example, but as Robert Bryce points out in the Wall Street Journal the reality of green energy is that it can’t supply what internet companies need to, in turn, give Americans the sort of “cloud” computing experience they want.
Apple has touted its plan to use solar energy to help run its massive new data center in Maiden, N.C. But in a recent blog post (perspectives.mvdirona.com) titled “I Love Solar Power But,” James Hamilton, a vice president and engineer on Amazon’s Web services team, calculated that the 500,000 square-foot facility would need about 6.5 square miles of solar panels.
He noted that setting aside that kind of space in densely populated regions, where many data centers are built, is “ridiculous” and would be particularly difficult because the land couldn’t have any trees or structures that could cast shadows on the panels.
Wind? An average wind-energy project has an electricity-generating capacity of about two watts per square meter. Even assuming that a wind project produces electricity 100% of the time (it won’t), Facebook’s data center in Prineville would need a wind project covering about 14 million square meters, nearly 5.5 square miles, or about four times the size of New York City’s Central Park.
Unless we’re prepared to cover nearly every square mile in America with solar panels and wind mills, the idea of powering America through such means is a fairy tale. And even if we would or could build that many solar arrays and wind farms, Americans would face prohibitively higher costs for a more unreliable sort of energy.
I’m not against solar panels and wind mills. I’m for power sources that work.
Meanwhile, the vast new natural gas reserves made available through hydraulic fracturing have done more to lower America’s carbon emissions than all the solar panels and wimd mills built to date.Tags: amazon, apple, facebook, fracking, green energy, natural gas