back to article Niagara Falls to power next Yahoo! data centre

In one of the brighter moments of New York governor David Patterson's unanticipated and beleaguered administration, Yahoo! has announced that it will plunk down its next data centre just east of Buffalo, New York, so it can tap the carbon-free hydroelectric power generated by Niagara Falls. When - not if - New York City has a …


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  1. Chris C


    "Yahoo! plans to invest 'tens of millions of dollars' to put its East Coast regional data centre, weighing in at 190,000 square feet, on a 30-acre plot in an industrial park. Not counting construction work, the data centre is expected to create 125 jobs."

    30 acres equals 1,306,800 square feet. Assuming a completed building size of 285,000 square feet, plus a (very generous) parking lot size of 50,000 square feet, that's still only 335,000 square feet. That leaves 971,800 square feet of ground unused. That's a lot of (hopefully) green. Will they be bringing in goats to maintain it?

    "Hopefully the economics works out in the long run."

    In the what? What is this "long run" of which you speak? Everyone knows politicians only think short-term (read: until the next election).

  2. David Jones 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    New York State is big! Really big!

    You have just no idea how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is!

    So when they announce a deal in Buffalo its got about as much to do with NYC as a deal

    in Aberdeen has to do with Penzance. As near as we can tell, the Niagara-Mohawk hydro-

    power does not directly power NYC, except insofar as everything links up to everything

    else on the grid. In any case 15 MW would barely power a few square blocks of downtown


    Even 125 jobs are welcome up here, and if its our cheap power that got the contract, so

    much the better. It certainly isn't the weather....

  3. Matt 32
    Thumb Up

    Praise the Lord!

    >Filo also said that Yahoo! would stop buying carbon offsets in an effort to make itself carbon

    >neutral, and would instead focus on getting its data centres to be as efficient as possible

    Somebody actually calling carbon credits for the vanity they are and talking about actual efficiency? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

    While hydropower in general is of dubious environmental friendliness in general (dams tend to muck up the rivers quite a bit), a natural hydropower facility like Niagra Falls certainly is the best way to go down that road!

  4. Andy Barber

    Free Leckie

    With a data centre that big, it will have a loads of roof space to install solar panels, or is the TCO of solar power a negative? I've suggested it at BT but so far no action, so assume the TCO is the problem.

  5. Brad 2

    well duh

    It makes much more sense than putting your DC somewhere in the middle of a hot, dry desert (I'm looking at you, supernap)

  6. Da Schwartz

    Solar in Buffalo? LOL

    There's a reason that 100% of the necessary power will have to come from hydro... SNOW. One harsh winter and any broad, flat roof in Buffalo will soon be a roof that is no longer standing.

    Good luck to Y! on this though. That entire area is dead, economically.

  7. Mr Young


    Are they really that big? Just where have I been? I thought a couple of 100w Solar Panels would have done 'em just fine. Maybe its that stoopid fucking opt out tickbox on Java updates.

  8. Jared Vanderbilt

    Uh ... this doesn't count

    They will be taking "green" power from other customers. It's not like any hydropower in the US is going to waste. The net effect of Google using an existing "green" source is ZERO because the current users will be pushed back onto "brown" power.

  9. Carrie

    Complete nonsense

    Yahoo wants to look good by saying their data centre is powered by water? Absolutley non-sensical.

    All power generated is fed to the grid. From the grid, one gets their power. You actually cannot control who gets what power, unless there is a dedicated power line directly from the Main Output Transformer to your load. I would be extremely skeptical that Yahoo reached a deal with NYPA with a very special dedicated line, since it's pretty much illegal. NYPA are not a regulator so a dedicated line would create a veritable mountain of paperwork.

    Nod to David Jones. This headline is just blather.

  10. Jimbo 7


    "Are they really that big? Just where have I been? I thought a couple of 100w Solar Panels would have done 'em just fine. "

    Do you really know what you are talking about or did you just see solar panel on your neightbor house? Data center is usually very power-sucking building with really big demand on air conditioning... yes you can add solar panel, but it cannot be your main source if you don't want to spend billions on batteries you need during night

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Not actually carbon-free

    Just because it comes from moving water doesn't make it carbon free. There is a lot of "stuff" that needs to be built to get that power to the site, not to mention, the site and all of that is carbon.

    Also, they don't actually get the power from Niagara Falls, a little bit of journalistic license I think. The hydro generation is from the Niagra River.

    Devil Bill because I have never had a chance to use it.


  12. Napoleon

    Niagara Falls ?

    Yahoo! will use refurbished T1000s / T2000s from SUN ? Mine the one with "SunShinner" on the back.

  13. Mr Young

    @Jimbo 7

    Eeek - it's called sarcasm, maybe I'm not very good at it. Anyway, with lifetime costs, solar panels can't compete with Grid Power and batteries can't compete with anything I can put in a fuel tank - I done the math. Maybe some day though. I just don't like Yahoo!


    PUE not related to hydroelectric source

    When you calculate the PUE ratio, you don't care if the power source is nuclear or solar or hydro. The PUE just gives you a ratio between power used directly in servers and power used for other stuff like cooling, lighting, ...


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make my company green by making others less green.

    The Niagra hydro power stations have been around a while, providing NY State, Ontario and others with power, but their output is finite, so if Yahoo! takes the power, then less is available for others, so theirs have to come from other sources, maybe green, maybe not.

    Although one might say the closure of HSBC's facilities would balance that.

    I have noticed a tendency for companies to open new "Green" facilities that reduce their carbon footprint by increasing those of their employees. That old energy inefficient office next to the station, replaced by the low rent, green field offices with low energy consumption that are nowhere near any sensible public transport, so everybody that used it before now has to drive.

    Then there's home working, which means less energy consumption in the energy efficient office, and more in the inefficient home, although at least you don't have to drive to the office, except that rationalisation has closed the local one anyway, so that instead of a 15 mile drive, or a train journey, you now have a 75 mile drive twice a week.

    Still at least the company is meeting its targets.

    (BTW this scenario actually opened an office near my home, on the bus route and by the train station, except that I was posted to one 60 miles away instead)

  16. jwernerny

    Good Place

    Living within 120 miles of there, Lockport, NY is a good place to move. It also could use the economic boost as the major industries out there were General Motors related companies, most of which have closed because of the US car manufacturers' problems. [Don't waste bandwith bemoaning US cars, and the car industry, please.]

    As for geographical reference, Niagara Falls is as close to NYC as London is to Manchester -- just a couple of minutes drive, right? :-) (Actually, it is about a 6 - 7 hour drive -- most of the breadth of NY State.)

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