Water is getting more attention as a critical resource for a data center. Compass Data Center's Chris Crosby has a post on Water.
Water, Water, Everywhere…
Chris mentions the drought in Eastern Washington in 2001.
What is interesting is the price of power was so high that Alcoa figured out it could make more money selling power than selling Aluminum.
"Why Sell Aluminum When We Can Make a Bigger Profit Selling Electricity?"
Jun 25, 2001
Alcoa Aluminum's main smelter in Washington state has been shut down, as have the smelting operations of four other aluminum companies on the Northwest Coast.
They weren't shut down because of a lack of buyers for aluminum –nor for a lack of workers. The big aluminum producers shut down simply because they could make more money by reselling electricity than they could by producing and selling aluminum.
Alcoa, for example, had longterm contracts to buy electric power from the federal government's Bonneville Power Administration at a rate of $22 a megawatthour. But deregulation of the electric power industry opened the road to enormous price increases. By last winter, electric power was selling on the open market at rates running between $250 and $500 a megawatthour. Shutting down aluminum production to resell electricity let Alcoa pocket the difference.
The result was an enormous increase in Alcoa's profits. Its profits in the first quarter of this year 120 million dollars - were over ten times as high as what they had been in the same period a year ago, before they started selling electric power.