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March 27, 2006

Wind Powered Google Server Farm

Categories Energy Google 

I've often wondered how much it costs to send an e-mail. Of course it's not so easy to measure, sure given a specific company or institution you can add up annual equipment costs and salaries, and divide that by the number of e-mails sent in a year and get a rough estimate. But at what point does energy and rent factor in to the equation? If you live in a major city such as New York, square footage isn't cheap. I've often thought that some enterprising company could offer huge cost savings on hosted e-mail by locating e-mail servers in a remote area and powering the server farm with wind turbines. Now that Google is slowly venturing into hosted e-mail, there's finally a pretty good candidate to try something like this.

According to most information I Googled up, North Dakota and Montana are the windiest states. So why not build enough wind turbines to power a warehouse full of e-mail servers? Best of all since it's so cold; the warehouse wouldn't have to be air-conditioned, which will further reduce energy costs. The site could be maintained with minimal staff; probably a handful of security guards and system admins would be enough.

Sure the startup costs would not be insignificant, but hey it's Google, they can afford it.

Who knows some Google employees might actually enjoy a few months excursion to a cold, windy, isolated place. I mean, people are bound to get bored of beautiful Mountain View weather day after day, right? No, not so much? Ok fine, well I still think it would work.

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