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.