Cloud Geography and EGS

Geothermal Map - from SMU via NYT

Geothermal Map - from SMU

I read somewhere that electricity costs will soon overtake hardware costs for computing. As the gap between electricity and hardware grows, electricity becomes even more important when siting a data center.

Perhaps the folks behind Google’s philanthropic interest in Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) realize this. Notice how geothermal resources seem to be inversely correlated with population density, and positively correlated with mountains.

When your business plan is electric generation, expensive transmission lines are a necessity. But if your business plan is selling cloud based computing, it seems like building a data center next to the generator makes more sense. Granted, fiber optic construction would be needed, but I suspect this is several orders of magnitude cheaper than transmission lines. Perhaps we can expect to see more geothermally powered data centers cropping up in remote places. Since a large part of the electricity in a data center is used for cooling, locating in a cooler high altitude might also be attractive. I wonder whatever happened to NORAD. I wonder if Google is wondering this too.

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