Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

21st April
written by simplelight

I frequently meet with the executives of alternative energy companies. Unfortunately, in most cases, the price of the electricity they’re generating is too high or the payback period for the required capital investment is too long.

In the past two years (April 2007 to March 2009) my wife and I have used 13,226 kwh at an average price of 13.3 cents per kwh (including all the taxes, distribution costs etc.). The total cost was $1,761 which amounts to $2.42 per day. We are fairly efficient and only use about 18.2 kwh per day which, according to PG&E, is a lot lower than average.

Nevertheless, it is hard to contemplate spending $10-20k to install any type of edge electricity generation when we can so easily pull it off the grid.

California, though, has a tiered rate system. Similar to tax rates, the more electricity you consume the higher your rate per kwh. The following are the approximate rates in California as of today.

  • Baseline
  • Tier 2 (up to 130% of baseline) — 13 cents per kwh
  • Tier 3 (up to 200% of baseline) — 21 cents per kwh
  • Tier 4 (up to 300% of baseline) — 37 cents per kwh
  • Tier 5 (over 300% of baseline) — 44 cents per kwh

The baseline rate varies by geography and season but is priced around 11.5 cents per kwh and includes about 23 kwh per day currently.

If you are consuming enough electricity to be hitting tiers 4 and 5 then it begins to make sense to install solar panels or fuel cells such as those provided by ClearEdge Power.

24th June
written by simplelight

I was at a conference this morning where Spansion and Virident were presenting their latest flash memory technology designed to replace DRAM in web servers. Some interesting facts:

  1. Cooling and power distribution losses account for 50% of the electricity consumed in US datacenters.
  2. Datacenter power use doubled from 2000 to 2005 and will almost double again by 2010. Growth in electricity use has been slowed somewhat by the advent of server virtualization over the last few years.
  3. US datacenters use more electricity than countries like Sweden and Iran
  4. Datacenters use almost 100 billion kilowatt hours each year at approximately $0.10 per kilowatt hour. Datacenter electricity consumption is growing at 15% per year (!)
  5. Datacenter memory (DRAM) uses 2x more electricity than the total capacity of US solar panel installations.
  6. US, EU and Japan use 3/4 of the world’s electricity.

It will be interesting to see whether Spansion’s newly announced EcoRAM can put a dent in these problems. They are citing some impressive numbers:

  1. 1/5th the power of DRAM at comparable read performance.
  2. 800x faster than NAND flash access times.
  3. 30 mins to write 1TB of data on EcoRAM vs 5 hours using traditional NOR DIMM’s.

On the other hand, the representatives from Intel and AMD certainly weren’t giving their unqualified support to EcoRAM.