Just how much power does Google need?

While I thought the news last month that Google was planning on building a facility in The Dalles, Oregon was interesting, in a “well, cost of living, industrial land, labor, and pretty much everything ought to be low, anyway” sort of way, I didn’t think too much about “why The Dalles?” until today, when I read Biz saying that Blogger was a bit slow because they had plenty of computers, but not enough electricity. Then it clicked, and when I went back to actually read the articles, sure enough part of the deal involved Google talking with the head of the Bonneville Power Administration. BPA is an odd sort-of government agency, kind of corporation, which wholesales power from Northwest hydroelectric dams, and the odd nuclear plant and some wind farms, primarily selling to utility companies, though it directly deals with a few enormous consumers of power, like aluminum smelters. And, from the sound of it, Google.

See, the most significant thing you notice when you’re in (okay, driving through) The Dalles is The Dalles Dam, a 1.8 million kilowatt generating monster that stretches a mile and a half across the Columbia River. Hmm. River. Rereading the article, I see where discussions of water supply, and wastewater treatment came up, too, and The Dalles is going to have to beef up its water system, though because the waste won’t require much in the way of treatment, not the wastewater system.

Great Googly Moogly. To build a data center, Google has to belly up right next to a dam, with a big ol’ river to use for water cooling? That’s more computers than I can imagine piling up together.


2005-03-20 16:49:24

Oh come on … there are FAR uglier places in Oregon than The Dalles — Pretty much anything between Bend and Burns would qualify. I might actually stop in The Dalles — and have as they have some good truck stops (and Truck Stops == Good Food) up there — but there are far more places around here that are hideously ugly.

I do know whenever they open that thing up there, I’ll be making the road trip to see the place, assuming they give tours.

Comment by Local citizen #
2005-04-05 19:43:15

I totally agree, I grew up in The Dalles, and there is nothing that can compare to having the hills around you in the spring covered with cherry blossoms. And to whomever wrote the article about ”Driving Through” The Dalles, better realize that what they say might be read by people who just might have an affect on them fitting in, in The Dalles. For you can laugh at the fact that it is a small town, but you seem to forget the way in which small towns work. Just a reminder. Have a nice day!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-04-05 20:00:36