Energy companies are planning to build over 150 coal-fired power plants across the United States, according to a report released July 20, 2006 by U.S. PIRG and other environmental groups nationwide. This is expected to lead to an estimated 10 percent increase in U.S. global warming emissions over the next several years. The resulting 30 percent increase in coal demand "would exacerbate the environmental devastation caused by coal mining, which has already denuded more than seven percent of Appalachian forests, buried 1,200 miles of streams in fill, and resulted in the release of hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic chemicals."The USPIRG punch line: "Investing the $137 billion slated for new coal-fired power plants into cleaner alternatives would yield economic and energy security benefits for the United States. If invested in energy efficiency, those funds could reduce U.S. electricity demand by about 19 percent in 2025 vs. business as usual — obviating the need for the all of the coal plants on the drawing board. If invested in wind energy, the United States could develop 110 giga-watts of the best wind energy locations in the western U.S., which could produce electricity at an overall cost comparable to coal".
Here's a related brain tease.
• Puzzler: How do you do a Google search for a new site?
• Answer: put your computer away and head to coal country.
In the Charlotte NC area , there could be a server rush on contingent on the coal rush it would seem. According to The Charlotte Observer, N.C.: "Internet giant Google is considering North Carolina as one of two or three finalists for an $800 million to $1 billion computer center that would employ 200 workers, according to government officials"
"Relocating server farms to rural locations shaves pennies per kilowatt-hour. But because server farms can consume as much power as a city of some 35,000 people, even modest reductions in electricity rates can save millions of dollars a year".
"Duke Energy charges industrial users 4.18 cents a kilowatt-hour, among the lower rates in the nation. North Carolina's average cost for industrial users is 4.78 cents a kilowatt-hour. California, home to some of the larger Internet firms, averages 8.49 cents a kilowatt- hour, according to the Edison Electric Institute".
We're wondering if the Google has considered purchasing wind power, carbon offset credits, hyper-efficient servers or HVAC systems? The stakes are regional and global. According to a USEPA website the following is true.