Google's secret thirst for power

| Print |  Email
Articles - August 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010

 

0810_ATS09
SOURCE: NORTHERNWASCO COUNTY PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT

How much electricity does Google use to power its servers in The Dalles?

You’ll never find out from employees of the search engine giant or from the utility officials who sell them the power, all sworn to secrecy through nondisclosure agreements. Nor will you find the answer within the frequently asked questions section of Google’s web page for its Oregon data center.

For five years Google has remained mum on how much energy the data center uses, even as the facility has made headlines on the front page of The New York Times and raised the ire of Harper’s magazine in a March 2008 article titled “Key Word: Evil.” Oregon Business examined Google’s power usage in June but couldn’t get specifics.

But the operating reports of the Northern Wasco County PUD tell the story that Google will not. In pre-Google 2005, the PUD sold 242.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity for $13.3 million. In post-Google 2009, the PUD sold more than twice as much energy, 592.4 million kilowatt-hours for $26.1 million.

Coincidence?

Highly unlikely. One of the subcategories in the PUD’s monthly and annual reports is for primary service customers. In pre-Google 2005 there were five unidentified customers. In post-Google 2006-2009, there were six. Whoever it was, that new, unnamed customer certainly improved the PUD’s bottom line. Primary service sales jumped from $1.4 million for five customers in 2005 to $13.8 million for six customers in 2009. The Wasco PUD’s primary service category has grown larger than total revenues were in 2005.

Using good old-fashioned arithmetic, Google spends about $12.4 million per year on about 330 million kilowatt-hours of energy in The Dalles. That’s enough to power 33,000 homes, or roughly three cities the size of The Dalles.

BEN JACKLET
 

Comments   

 
John
0 #1 And?John 2010-08-03 13:29:45
The point is?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Charlcie
0 #2 Why not?Charlcie 2010-08-04 09:41:59
Makes you wonder why they wouldn't say how much power they use.
Good research, Ben.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS