Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A different point of view

Saving money in the Data Center on energy costs, seems to be something just about all of our clients want to do. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an article that pointed out how radically different an energy producing country's administration feels about alternative power generation and resource usage, as compared to our Administration's point of view.

Currently, we think of power outages as incidents, not long term events. But what if energy is curtailed for the long term?


The article ...
"Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali Naimi lobbed a verbal salvo in the crude vs. renewables scuffle. In a speech to oil executives in Houston, he warned that promoting the growth of renewable fuels too quickly could create a “nightmare scenario” – too little investment in oil, while renewables aren’t yet ready to pick up the slack.

His remarks seemed aimed at officials in Washington D.C. and particularly members of President Barack Obama’s administration. His speech comes at a time when the new Obama administration embarks on an ambitious path to steer the country’s energy policy away from fossil fuels. President Obama was to instate a national renewable electricity mandate and a carbon cap-and-trade system this year.

“We must be mindful that efforts to rapidly promote alternatives could have a ‘chilling effect’ on investment in the oil sector,” he said at the Cambridge Energy Research Associates oil conference, according to his prepared remarks. “A nightmare scenario would be created if alternative energy supplies fail to meet overly optimistic expectations, while traditional energy suppliers scale back investment.”

That echoes an argument made last summer by a Dutch think tank–basically, that oil-producing nations are just as concerned about “security of demand” as consumer countries are about “security of supply.”

Mr. Naimi’s warning against ramping up investments and expectations in renewable energy comes at a time when OPEC members are feeling the financial pain of low crude oil prices.
Mr. Naimi, the longtime oil minister for Saudi Arabia, is one of the most influential voices in the oil world. But he speaks as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has slashed output in an effort to cut supplies and keep prices from falling.

Still, Mr. Naimi acknowledged that the world was likely headed towards a transition away from fossil fuels. But he said it wasn’t clear which fuels or technologies would be able to gain the scale and economics needed to replace crude oil.

The cost of replacing the current “highly efficient and economical” energy infrastructure with alternatives would be “prohibitive” in the short term. “A prudent approach demands we recognize that the massive scale of the global energy system makes rapid change costly and impractical,” he said."

The article led me to ask some questions:

1) What happens to data center costs and up time guarantees if we run into a power crisis?
2) How do we decide which systems are critical in a completely integrated network?
3) Do we have a Disaster Prevention plan that includes provisions for which systems are critical if we only are allocated 80% of the power consumption we used last year?
4) Which servers and appliances can be turned off and are not critical?
5) How often are you going to do a backup and will we have the power to complete it?
6) How long can our UPS and generators realistically provide the extra power we need?
7) What will this do to our bottom line costs of operations?

** linked to by Simon Sharwood - Thank you.

No comments: