[Beowulf] Electricity cost: a critical survival issue of our ICT infrastructures.

Lawrence Stewart stewart at serissa.com
Tue Apr 9 05:09:41 PDT 2013


I got to thinking, "how bad could electricity costs get?"

The answer I come to is "not very bad".  The potential costs are capped by the capital cost of installing your
own, say, solar generation.  If I understand these things correctly, which is not likely, it now costs about $1/watt
for panels, with about a 20% active time, so $5/watt.

I am not including storage here, so you have to sell 4X your load for the 20% the sun shines, and buy 1X for the 80% it doesn't.
The net electricity costs ought to be about 0.

The green 500 is running over 2 GF/watt these days, or 500 watts/TF.  So you can buy PV panels for $2500/TF.

Suppose the installed cost is 4X the panel cost.  We're at $10000/TF with 0 operating costs for electricity.

Suppose that TF cost $10000 for the computer and AC (I have no idea!).  Then the capital costs have doubled, but
the lifetime of the PV plant is probably 15-20 years, vs the 3 year cost of the computer.

I am sure I am way off on this, but if the figures are usable, then for a 1-2 year hit on Moore's law, you can just buy free power
forever.

-L



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