back to article Why do cloud titans keep building datacenters in America's hottest city?

With more than a hundred 100F (37.7C) days a year and a persistent drought, on paper Phoenix, Arizona is one of the last places you'd expect to find cloud and colocation providers setting down roots. Yet, Google has just broken ground on a $1 billion, 750,000 square feet datacenter campus in Mesa, east of Phoenix and to the …

  1. Kev99 Silver badge

    Penny wise and pound foolish. They'll soon find that being anywhere near Phoenix is going to take a toll on workers, not that they really care. And since US companies know how to sucker localities with pleas of poverty to get tax breaks, they're going to suck at the public teat as hard as they can.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Phoenix has the possibility of generating power from solar panels and then changing their working timing, many cultures have handled these temperatures by working early and late in the day but staying relatively cool during the midday high temperatures. So maybe work at night and then sleep in a room with an AC running during the day ... and that may have the potential to be more power efficient?

      1. Brian 3

        How is sleeping in a room with AC during the day substantially different from working in a room with AC during the day, and sleeping at night? Your idea only works for those with jobs that involve no AC, not really so much office jobs. Datacenters, well, they could be hot inside, some of them definitely are. But they are unlikely to be much cooler until late at night.

        1. FIA Silver badge

          Presumably the AC has less heat to remove. (Sedentary bodies, less equipment running).

          1. Stork Silver badge

            I am sure the body heat is negligible compared to heat transfer though walls and roofs.

            Even more so if thermal insulation is as poor as what I got impression of in American house remodelling programs.

            1. tracker1

              A major Cc company days center in Phoenix has 3ft concrete walls. Another of a major ISV has 3x what most commercial buildings have. Not sure on phxnap but it's uncomfortably cold in the server space.

          2. tracker1

            Servers generate way more great than people. Data centers are usually really well insulated and some use massive water cooling systems to control heat dissipation.

        2. tracker1

          The three Phoenix data centers I've been in are around 60°F in the server space and close to 68 in the rest of the building. It's unfortunately cold if you aren't used to it.

          Most offices are 68-75 in Phoenix. Will really vary.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            What kind of loony is still cooling data centers to 60?

            Sane people cool them to 70 now. The computers are happy, and the people can at least sort of function at that high temp. They typically still cool the office spaces to a sane 65 so the techs have someplace to go to cool down.

            I've heard Google is only cooling them to 80 now. Sure, the computers are still happy, but the people are miserable in that heat.

            1. Orv Silver badge

              Often low data center temps are an inefficient way to compensate for uneven distribution. If your warmest "cold aisle" is 75, the one closest to the chiller might well be 60, especially if the equipment isn't spread evenly.

      2. NeilPost Silver badge

        Solar does’t work the hotter/sunnier it is … the more power you get. They are generally rated at 25C//77F. As the panels get hotter, there is a drop in their efficiency/output.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I've seen that elsewhere as an argument against solar energy farms and, in areas where is is regularly hot, it may be a valid point. However, it was directed at the UK where the converse argument is that solar panels become more efficient as the temperature decreases. IMHO this is an argument in their favour as cooler usually equates to less sunlight per day, so increasing efficiency starts to level up capability throughout the year.

          When I ordered solar panels for my house (in the north of Scotland), I got a few more than the initial design recommendation. In the late spring to early autumn months, solar (with its associated storage battery) meets almost all of our need (our meter draw from the grid is usually less than 0.5kWh/day). In the winter, the extra panels mean that, whilst out grid demand is higher, solar still makes a significant contribution on at least half the days.

        2. tracker1

          I'm in Phoenix with a limited roofline for solar. Fewer panels than most houses my size. It's covered more than half my summer energy and almost all of the cooler half of the year. May not be oak efficiency but definitely works better than I had expected.

        3. Stork Silver badge

          The difference is rather small. Our system varies at most a couple of % between 25 and 35 C air temperature.

          The panels are of course much hotter.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Yes, the differences are small. Smart people spec the PVs accordingly anyway.

            I wouldn't go as far as to say it's a non-issue, but to all intents and purposes, in a properly designed system it's a non-issue.

      3. John Jacob Jingleheimerschmit II

        Data centers operate 24/7, even lights out data centers

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Workers put up with it because Phoenix, with its large area to sprawl out into, has relatively inexpensive housing compared to most cities that tech companies locate in.

  2. Rol

    4 cents?

    I read 4 cents a kw hour and couldn't concentrate on the article any further. 4 cents! That's less than 10% of what I currently pay. It's practically nothing in comparison to UK prices. How on Earth is power that cheap in America?

    I notice the article goes on to mention what we here in the UK consider to be the the most expensive means of generating electricity, nuclear, which surely must have comparable costs to the UK, unless over in America it's okay to just sweep the waste under someone else's rug.

    Based on power costs alone, I'm going to petition my local MP and ask if we could apply to be the 51st state, or at least get a solid answer as to why we're getting fleeced on power in the UK.

    4 cents! I just can't get it out of my head.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Just wait until you see what they pay for internet access in Ukraine. Coffee's around 25p too, last time I checked, even though I'm pretty sure we roast the same beans. I guess we just have a better class of electrons? And water?

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Its simple really.

      Power prices here are determined by which power generation system is the most expensive, then charging everyone that price, coupled with power companies setting outrageous prices because they are allowed to .. and besides they can use their excess profits generated here to subsidise their home country customers.. yupp thats right we sold the power generators to EU companies.

      Then of course OFGEN is about as useful as a chocolate teapot coupled with the same power companies bribing .. oopps sorry lobbying MPs not to change things

      Over in the the US its a bit different, the price is set from the cheapest not the most expensive. unless you're in Texas, in which case its buy from the texas power companies because texas is not connected to the US national grid....which causes problems when they run out of power....

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        The comical power pricing system is less about lining the pockets of cronies (though that may be the effect) but about making "renewables" look like they are cost effective. If the market priced energy at the cheapest offer price, green energy would never be used.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Please note that this is not for the entire country, but for one particular state. The reason that Washington, in the northwest has such a low price are a few factors. The largest one is hydroelectric power. Washington contains the last parts of the Columbia river, which is the second largest river by volume in the US. Washington is therefore able to have much larger hydroelectric plants than most other locations, comprising about 25% of the nations hydroelectric generation. It also has a significant amount of wind generation compared to other parts of the country. A nuclear plant doesn't hurt either. That area has more power generation capacity than is needed to serve its population and is often providing power to neighboring areas in the western parts of Canada and the US. Other parts of the US have higher electricity prices.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 4 cents?

        Agreed. Where I am in New England, the generating charge is about $0.10 per kWh. Distribution charge & State taxes pretty much doubles that.

    4. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      If it makes you any happier then here in California we got treated to a 'deregulation' scheme for our electricity around 2000 where they introduced separation of power generation, transmission and retail power into three businesses, stirring in a lively "Independent System Operators" market and the like. The result was immediate and dramatic price rises -- San Diego's tripled overnight -- and a succession of power cuts and brownouts as "the smartest guys in the room" traded the same electrons among themselves to jack up the prices. They'd set the system up so everything they did was confidential, trade secrets, but unlike the UK their cover got blown by the then rather colorful general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power which in a bureaucratic oversight had remained outside this entire noliberal mess. (They had surplus power to sell but they were legally constrained to sell it at the highest price to keep that 'market' rolling!)

      The political blowback condemned the Republican party to the backwoods for the next couple of decades or so. The state government had to step in and stabilize things but it still means we're paying an arm and a leg for power with all that good stuff you get in the UK such as 'time of use' tariffs. We're enjoying English pricing, of course. We can use solar panels but the utility companies are bitchin' and moanin' about it so unless you're grandfathered in (or have a storage battery) you're SoL if you want to sell power back to the system (I get maybe 8c a Kw/hr for power that SCE sells to my neighbor for 40-odd. (...and the latest wheeze is trying on charging for infrastructure based on income, not usage.....)

      BTW -- I don't think the 4c a Kw/hr figure is realistic. Utilities aren't in business to give stuff away.

      1. Hurn

        Re: 4 cents?

        The effective residential (standard house A/C major load during summer) price, including generation, transportation, and regulating in Tucson AZ (2 hrs from PHX) is about $0.18 per KWH (assuming 1 Phase, center tap to ground, 120VAC per (2x) taps at useful max current (compressor, not evaporative, based A/C)).

        While commercial customers may get a break, if they're paying extra for a percentage of "green/renewable" power (because, who isn't these days?), then, they're probably not paying far from $0.18 per KWH, at least on paper.

        Would guess $0.04 is a partial price, and probably not the major component.

      2. Alf Garnett

        Re: 4 cents?

        One reason power companies may be bitching about solar is it's not as reliable as other means. A coal, natural gas or nuclear plant works 24/7. Solar only works when the sun's shining. Windmills only work when the wind is blowing.

    5. xyz Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Here in Spain power is back to being free on Sundays between certain hours. I dont use much of the "pay for stuff" myself... Solar panels for me. Just had a look at my supplier's site.. 550w panel is 163 euros.

      I think the person sleeping through the day with AC on meant solar driven power for the AC. It's what I do in the summer... Work 6 to 10 in the morning , sleep and then work 6 to 10 in the evening.

      1. Stork Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        Portugal here. I think we pay about €0.20 in daytime (including VAT), half that at night.

        We also have photovoltaics, so the worst period is early evening, 18-22.

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Re: 4 cents?

          My quoted tariff in France on a 9kW supply (it changes depending on how much power you want) with no off-peak or anything from EdF (the generic regulated tariff bleu) is about €0,13/kWh.

          However the price I actually pay is around €0,36/kWh. That's partly because I use very little electricity, my bills are usually around €30/month and over half of that is the standing charges and taxes (and since France is France, it appears that the tax is taxed!).

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: 4 cents?

            Similar here in God's Country. A quick check of my meter reading spreadsheets works out that I'm paying 52p/kWhr as I use so little and my bill is mostly standing charge.

    6. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Are domestic users and commercial users paying the same rate?

      In the UK I've seen deals where commercial users pay a lot less, though not as good as 4 cents (Octopus have or maybe had an overnight rate of around 12 cents).

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        Commercial rates are much more expensive in the UK, because they aren't subject to the price cap. You can get reduced rate overnight electricity, I have that, but it means you have a higher rate during the day.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: 4 cents?

          >” Commercial rates are much more expensive in the UK, because they aren't subject to the price cap.”

          That situation (commercial rates higher than residential rates) has only really arisen in the last year when gas prices rose sharply and the UK generation system is highly dependent upon gas, due in part to a reluctance to invest in nuclear….

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        Some commercial users in the UK pay less because they are an a deal whereby they can be ordered to shut down at short notice if there are grid requirements to do so, such as periods of very hifg demand.

    7. DevOpsTimothyC

      Re: 4 cents?

      The "Problem" with Power (specifically electricity) prices in the UK is that they are function of the price of Gas. If the government broke that link then electricity prices could (and probably would) go down while gas prices would go up.

      I've written to my MP a couple of times suggesting that

      a) They propose a private members bill to break that link

      b) They propose a private members bill that states that 60% (or more) of oil / gas / coal (I know we don't dig up coal any more but lets cover all bases) must be sold to the UK energy market (not for resale to other countries). My thought is that by creating a UK energy market the costs cannot be any higher than the global energy (Oil/Gas) market.

      My MP has stated that while she will propose them to the energy select committee next time they review this, that she is a "Local MP and not interested in Westminster Politics" :(

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        You should send that to your local paper. Your MP is supposed to represent you in Westminster in addition to doing local stuff, not treat being an MP as an easy gravy train. I mean, FFS, that's what the 'P' in MP stands for!

        The government's own page on "What do MPs do?" says The UK public elects Members of Parliament (MPs) to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons so it seems to me that if she isn't interested in doing that, she's essentially failing at her task.

      2. Boring Bob

        Re: 4 cents?

        It isn't the government who decide to link the electricity price to gas, it is the market. We need electricity generated by gas as it can react rapidly to fluctuations in load. Hence we need to buy electricity at the price that gas allows. Competition from other sources will not bring down the gas price, hence the price for electricity is determined by the price of gas.

      3. AnotherMrC

        Re: 4 cents?

        Residential rates in Washington aren't 4c (I pay about 12c/kWh in Seattle, and although the rate varies depending on exactly where you are in the state, it's never been that low in the last 5 years)

    8. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      It's about $0.40 / kWh in California too thanks to a corrupt Public Utilities Commission that does whatever the power companies ask. Now that PG&E has finished raising rates to cover the cities they burned to the ground by embezzling their own maintenance funds, they've asked the PUC to bill for electrical hookups and the baseline kWh like a progressive tax. It makes the telcos and cable TV companies look like saints.

    9. Slef

      Re: 4 cents?

      `Think of how much power you will have to use to be able to pay for your health care costs!

    10. Sparkus

      Re: 4 cents?

      You're getting fleeced on power because of how you've voted the past 40 years.

      Elections have consequences.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: 4 cents?

        I read that last line as "Electrons have consequences." That may also be true.

        1. KarMann Silver badge

          Re: 4 cents?

          And it wasn't just you. Context has consequences!

    11. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 4 cents?

      Here in northern New Mexico I pay a bit less than 10¢ per kWh, partly because the local electric cooperative is now completely daytime-photovoltaic (on average; battery banks allow a bit of carryover which compensates for the rare cloudy days). Of course there are fixed costs as well, and in the winter months when we're not running the ceiling fans (we don't have, or want, A/C) and the fridge and freezers don't work as hard, it's not unusual for the fixed costs to form the larger part of the monthly bill.

      (There's more lighting in the winter months, of course, but with LEDs that barely registers. And we have electric radiant-floor heat in a couple rooms but between the large thermal mass of the building and passive solar gain, it doesn't come on very much.)

      We're looking into getting a PV & battery backup system for the new house, just to be able to run the well pump during outages. The house isn't large but has a single-plane roof so we could fit a decent area of panels.

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 4 cents?

      You're getting arseraped on power prices. And that's because your idiot right-wing government privatized electricity production and then allowed the for-profit companies to tie electricity prices to natural gas prices. The stupidity goes back to Thatcher - but then most stupidity in the UK can be traced back to that... and I use the word very loosely... woman.

      The 4 cents isn't retail price, it's bulk commercial price. US retail price is higher. For my house, it's about 11 cents/kwh. It helps a lot that where I live has nationalized electricity production, much of the US is stuck with for-profit electricity too. Phoenix isn't entirely safe, the SRP is a nationalized utility, but APS is for-profit, and where you are in town there determines whether you get stuck with for-profit or not. Where I am TVA covers all of the area, local distribution is through local utility boards, all nice and socialized.

  3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Data Center Straining Wastewater Plant?

    From TFA: But while the software giant pitched the change as a sustainability win, the reality was that the company's existing datacenters were already putting a strain on the local wastewater plant.

    How is a large data center potentially putting strain on a wastewater plant? Except for a few toilets and sinks, the water they consume is evaporated into the atmosphere, not poured down the drains, right?

    1. doesnothingwell

      Re: Data Center Straining Wastewater Plant?

      How is a large data center potentially putting strain on a wastewater plant?

      Its always more complicated than it sounds, some tap water evaporates which cconcentratis the minerals remaining in it. These minerals will clog the system if not flushed down the dtain or left to evaporate on the ground.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Data Center Straining Wastewater Plant?

        But why would they send ANY cooling related water to the wastewater plant? Why not filter out those more concentrated minerals on site (which is a heck of a lot easier than dealing with sewage or even storm water runoff) and pipe that water back into their evaporative cooler system so they use less city water?

        Every gallon they send into the city wastewater system that doesn't need to go there (i.e. isn't from a toilet/sink/drain/etc.) is a waste.

        1. david 12 Silver badge

          Re: Data Center Straining Wastewater Plant?

          Why not filter out those more concentrated minerals on site

          They agreed to do that, to get their planning permit, but didn't actually get around to doing so.

          Eventually the waste-water people wanted to connect more houses (because real-estate development is an even more powerful lobby group), and, under pressure from the land developers, made threats and loud complaints. So their next data centre won't get away with that.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Data Center Straining Wastewater Plant?

        Perhaps need to build a datacentre next to a mineral salt extraction business that uses evaporation ponds to collect useful minerals such as lithium…

  4. RobThBay

    home to the largest nuclear power....

    Where? The largest power plant in

    - Arizona?

    - USA?

    - North America?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: home to the largest nuclear power....

      It looks like it's the largest in the US, with one in Ontario about 50% larger which is the largest in North America. Largest could refer to the largest nuclear plant by capacity in the country or the largest plant of any kind in the country by actual generation (the only larger plant by capacity is a hydroelectric plant in Washington which is not generating at full capacity).

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: home to the largest nuclear power....

      The size of the plant is largely irrelevant, you don’t build a nuclear plant unless you have a target market, so all that really matters at this point in time is its spare/unused generative capacity. Or is the idea the datacentre operators will pay a market premium rate so the nuclear plant operators stop supplying electricity to those that don’t pay so well?

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    Maybe we have this all wrong

    Arizona is heating up because of the data centres built there. All those processors, gotta send the heat somewhere.

    Build a new data centre, it's just going to make the place hotter.

  6. DS999 Silver badge

    Seems like locating by the wastewater treatment plan might be a win

    They could use partially cleaned water that's not potable for evaporative cooling and save the city money by not having to complete the treatment process on that water.

  7. Ribfeast

    I got in just before they kicked off Demand charges here in Australia on some tariffs. I pay 36c per kwh for power used any time, and I get 12c per kwh for solar I export from my 19.6kW system (17.5kw of inverters). Maths doesn't work for battery storage yet. Some people are stuck on Time Of Use plans which are closer to 60c per kwh in the evenings, but marginally cheaper than my rate in the early morning.

    Demand charges are worse again. If you consume say 10kW consistently for a 30 minute period, then you will be charged 10x 15-20c PER DAY for the rest of the billing month. So staggering high-use appliances becomes a must. I've had the EV charging, oven on, ducted AC on, and induction cooktop running, exceeding 20kW draw in the evenings sometimes, if I was subject to a demand charge, it would be brutal.

  8. david 12 Silver badge

    Cooling needs to run in winter "because it's not evaporative"

    Evaporative coolers are favored because they .... only need to be run during the hottest months of the year. [...] alternative cooling methods ... will need to run year round.


    I can imagine designing a data centre that needs to be cooled year-around. I have trouble imagining that the cooling load in winter is because it's "not evaporative".

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Cooling needs to run in winter "because it's not evaporative"

      In winter you can cool with regular heat exchange AC if the outside temperature is low enough. Or even just directly air cool with outside air if you design for that at the atart

  9. deadlockvictim


    El Reg» As a general rule, datacenter operators like to build where land, operational costs, and taxes are low.

    Oh Ireland, you are such a slut.

  10. RLWatkins

    ... a capacity of 32 million megawatt hours....

    What on earth are you talking about?

    Power plant capacity is measured in watts, not watt-hours. The former is a rate of energy delivery, similar say to a horsepower, the latter a total amount of energy, similar say to the capacity of a gas tank.

    And 32 trillion, even if it is watts, and not watt-hours?

    Er, OK.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: ... a capacity of 32 million megawatt hours....

      KWh = energy, does make sense to talk about capacity. You quote the capacity of your laptop battery in Whr not Watts.

      In these days of intermittent supply alternative power sources it makes sense to consider power plants in total energy over a year rather than instantaneous peak power output

    2. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: ... a capacity of 32 million megawatt hours....

      Well, logically they could be talking about the total amount of energy the plant will generate during its operational lifetime. But I doubt it.

      As a complete guess, they might mean that it generates 32 million megawatt hours *per year* - which would be about 3650 megawatts, on average.

      What they say, and what they mean, don't necessarily coincide. But really, it's the job of journalists to get this stuff right.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: ... a capacity of 32 million megawatt hours....

        According to one of their videos it’s capable of producing 4,000 megawatts to power 4 million homes.

        The 32 million megawatt figure is a reference to how much energy it actually produced over a year ( note the past tense).

  11. Sparkus

    Investing in SMR

    sized in the 60-100MWe range.......... Sell the excess back to the proles.

  12. This is my handle

    Sour grapes, er uh rice

    The FinTech firm with which I had been happily engaged for a good 7 years was acquired by a bigger fish whose name (and it's founder) rhymes which Gnarles Schnob. Small fish had data centers in Dallas, Texas (long before TX discovered winter these last couple of years) & Jersey City, NJ (don't ask). Big fish had most of it's eggs in a basket in Phoenix, AZ and also Dallas. I could never figure out the Phoenix decision for exactly the reasons mentioned here.

    Of course, we also grow rice (which basically grows in puddles, or "paddies") in drought stricken California, such are the distortions of an economy which totally devalues and disregards the natural environment.

  13. tracker1

    Not as bad as it sounds...

    Phoenix is very geo stable. Very little risk of natural disaster. Can't speak for all,. But a few high security data centers have buildings with very thick concrete walls and don't take as much cooling as other buildings in the area. The server racks do take a lot of power.

    Fortunately, Phoenix is fairly stable for power generation and use, unlike the west Coast by contrast.

    The heat in oak summer sucks. Most people stay inside and many have remote start. My 2016 Dodge can start remotely from my phone. So it's cooled off by the time I get to it. It's not much worse that places that are always cloudy and rainy though.

  14. insteadof


    A fine place for site visits in February. Golfing is great. Leave the snow behind.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it possible for eco-scammer journalists to use the correct units of measurement?

    "As we learned last year, Google's datacenters in The Dalles, Oregon consumed more than a quarter of the city's water supply — 274.5 million gallons or about 1.2 billion liters — in 2021."

    In the US, when you talk about water consumption at scale, you use acre-feet and not gallons (1 acre-foot = 325,851.43 gallons). The reason for this is that water is handled in such large quantities that it's unwieldy to use gallons (or liters).

    Using proper maths the Google datacenters in The Dalles, Oregon, a tiny community of approximately 16,000 people, consume around 842 acre-feet of water per year. This comes from the Columbia River, which after considering what humans remove for various uses, dumps 192,000,000 acre-feet of water into the Pacific Ocean every year.

    So in real environmental impact terms, the Google datacenters consume 0.00044% of the excess capacity of this natural water resource. Local residents are free to argue and be concerned about the costs of removing, treating, and delivering this water, but to even call it a drop in the ecosystem bucket would be a grotesque exaggeration.

    No honest person attempts to have meaningful discussions about this in gallons or liters. The only point of this is to remove the data from its proper context and create Big Scary Numbers that drive emotional responses, just like talking about the datacenters consuming 25% of a municipality's production without mentioning that the municipality in question is quite tiny.

    Whenever you see a so-called "news" article discuss water consumptions in units of gallons, put on your heaviest and most durable boots because you are about to wade through a very deep pile of bullshit.

  16. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    50,000 square *foot* datacenter campus. Adjectives use the singular.

  17. Tanj

    Modern data centers run hot

    Data centers have spent years studying reliability at high temp and have the stats to understand how to operate up to about 45C with ambient air.

    The cooling chain starts with your CPU and other major silicon running at up to 90C. The most important part of the cooling is to ensure the package moves that heat with minimum drop. Modern systems with liquid cooling (closed cycle generally, not evaporating) moving heat from the chips may use liquids running at 65C, leaving plenty of potential to cool down by exchange with desert air.

    At the hottest times (above 45C, which even in Phoenix are rare, and not all day when they do happen) they may need to turn on heat pumps to assist. There can also be relatively passive systems, like large water tanks chilled at night for use in the afternoon. What solutions they use will vary by company. These companies already operate in places hotter and drier than Phoenix.

    This is not like cooling your apartment, or even like cooling your gamer rig, and the companies did not start figuring this out just yesterday.

  18. Doc Eddie

    Phoenix: Perfect Place for a data center

    Phoenix doesn’t have tornadoes hurricanes earthquakes tsunamis land slides ice storms or zombies. It sits next to the largest nuclear generating facility on the planet. It sits at the nexus of a robust fiber optic network. In other words,

    It’s the safest place on the planet for reliable high value added cloud computing and storage.

  19. jake Silver badge

    Why? The answer is rather obvious.

    Because those Cities continue to make it profitable in the short term for the companies doing the building. Quarterly profits are the only thing the corporate world is thinking about. As soon as those profits drop for a calendar quarter or three, that datacenter will go dark. Hell, sometimes they close before the equipment moves in! I've drawn up a total of six large corporate data centers that never went live ... and been paid rather handsomely for it I might add. One never even had power and water run to the building, another was switched on and undergoing test when the call came down to power it all off. The other four were somewhere between these extremes.

    But make no mistake, it's all about the Board members each being able to purchase a new dacha or business jet this quarter. Nothing else matters, except perhaps the shareholders if they are perceived as being a trifle grumbly this year.

  20. nijam Silver badge

    > ... capacity of 32 million megawatt-hours.

    32 million megawatt-hours per how long? Over the whole lifetime of the power station? Per annum? Per hour (which would simply be 32 million megatts).

    Why not just show the power output in megawatts? Or gigawatts. (You even specifiy it in Kcal, if it were for the diet industry.)

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