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Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Technology |

Microsoft evades a penalty of wasting electrical energy

Microsoft evades a penalty of wasting electrical energy

On the odd occasion we said that cloud computing or, rather, the operating data centers worldwide, account for 1% of global energy consumption (and Google accounts for 0.01% ) and this amount have an impact equivalent to 2% of carbon emissions worldwide (almost the same as aviation). Given these data are many companies that have adopted a commitment to clean energy adoption in their offices and their data centers using renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint and help preserve the environment. Among the companies that walk into the “zero emissions” can find Microsoft, however, despite working in this line, the balance sheets are still managing some of the company’s decision to the point of having squandered millions of watts provided evade a fine company that supplies electricity to one of its data centers.

Power companies in a number of countries, enjoy a privileged situation (even as regulations) which may impose fees, surcharges and penalties almost at will and, indeed, the company which supplies electricity to one of the centers data had signed a contract with the company in which certain penalties collected.

Microsoft, which owns a in Quincy (in Washington State) since 2006, has hired (as is common in many data centers) a main power line and a backup (besides the usual sets and batteries to keep running in case of power failure) but, in these conditions, the Redmond company can sell the “excess energy” of his main supply, however, providing support moves within an estimate of consumption minimum. Estimated minimum consumption?? Strangely enough is pretty simple, Microsoft is committed to a minimum and, whether consumed in excess or defect, you must pay a penalty to the power company.

When the time of invoicing, estimating Microsoft fell too short and therefore power company was billed a penalty of $210,000, a significant quantity of money that could disrupt any balance sheet. Microsoft’s solution? Although the company has adopted as corporate policy, being a company “green” financial geniuses concluded it was cheaper electricity and minorar spend the amount of the penalty (increasing consumption) to face the charges and, despite this unfortunate conclusion, that was precisely what they did (or so has the New York Times).

These events took place in December last year and, according to the graphs of power consumption in the data center, consumption rose during three days of 28.5 million to 34 million watts, a consumer who got lower the penalty to $60,000 (in addition to paying the electricity consumed). And how can a data center so inordinately increase their consumption? The “anti-solution” hit the engines turn generators (no need) to burn energy to get down the penalty.

Although, from the economic viewpoint, the pulse beat Microsoft to the electric company, the solution is highly outrageous and a clear example of bad decisions made by large corporations based solely on economic data. Those 5.5 million watts consumed in three days, or rather wasted, represent twice the energy of the city in which is located the data center, an entire ecological scandal for a company that claim to be “green”.

The strange thing is that, in the comments he made Microsoft the New York Times, someone dared to say:

It’s a situation that happen once and that was quickly resolved

Perhaps the resolved quickly but, really, is something that will burden future generations.

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