Speculating Cap and Trade’s Impact to Data Centers

ComputeWorld has an article on data centers and cap and trade.

Data centers brace for Obama's 'cap and trade' energy pricing plan

The president's proposed 'cap and trade' program on carbon emissions may have big implications for power-hungry IT facilities.

By Patrick Thibodeau

April 6, 2009 (Computerworld) Data centers are part of the greenhouse gas problem, and their operators may soon start paying to help fix it under President Barack Obama's proposed cap-and-trade energy plan.

The cap-and-trade scheme is designed to impose higher costs on power generators that don't use so-called clean energy sources. The government would cap overall carbon dioxide emissions and then auction off permits enabling companies to exceed the limits -- essentially adding an indirect tax on some forms of energy, such as coal-fired electricity.

Power bills likely would increase as utilities forced to buy the permits passed the added costs on to their customers. And over time, the pool of permits would decrease, sending electricity costs further upward unless generators switched to cleaner energy sources.

How’s this affect you?  Who knows?

But there's no way to accurately gauge the potential impact of a cap-and-trade initiative. "Everything is depending on how they arrange these regulations," Deaderick said. "It could go a lot of different ways."

There is a sense of inevitability among analysts, though, that the White House and Congress eventually will agree on a new energy-pricing plan.

"Anticipating zero-carbon pricing... those days are gone," said Pat Concessi, an energy consultant at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

The one thing you can count on is energy prices are not going to decrease.

And, people are going to learn to look at their data center power bills.