NYTimes throws its 2nd punch at Microsoft Data Centers, Diesel Generators, and Policy

NYtimes had its 1st article on Power, Pollution and the Internet.   The 2nd punch (article) focusing on Microsoft as the bad guy who consumes huge amounts of power, pollutes with diesel generators, and plays hard ball.

But for some in Quincy, the gee-whiz factor of such a prominent high-tech neighbor wore off quickly. First, a citizens group initiated a legal challenge over pollution from some of nearly 40 giant diesel generators that Microsoft’s facility — near an elementary school — is allowed to use for backup power.

Then came a showdown late last year between the utility and Microsoft, whose hardball tactics shocked some local officials.

In an attempt to erase a $210,000 penalty the utility said the company owed for underestimating its power use, Microsoft proceeded to simply waste millions of watts of electricity, records show. Then it threatened to continue burning power in what it acknowledged was an “unnecessarily wasteful” way until the fine was substantially cut, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

The story spins inconsistencies between Christian Belady who has Mike Manos's old job.

Mr. Belady, the Microsoft official, said the board’s resolution “eliminated the illogical financial incentive for Microsoft to consume unnecessary power in order to avoid a larger fine.”

Mr. Manos, the former Microsoft data center chief who had pledged to operate in an environmentally sensitive way, said he was surprised by the company’s response to the penalty. “Those types of decisions would not have been part of the program’s initial inception,” he said.

Note how the author closes, questioning the value of data centers to the local economy.

But Mr. Morgan, the president of Double Diamond Fruit, said the positive impact over all had been far less than many people imagined. As for all the digital services that data centers power around the country, Mr. Morgan said, “I understand that it’s a necessary situation for us as a society and the way we want to live.”

“But I don’t think it’s benefiting Quincy,” he said. “I think we’re taking one for the team, to tell you the truth.”

We'll see who he goes after next after Microsoft


This is the second article in a series about the physical structures that make up the cloud, and their impact on our environment.

Part 1: Power, Pollution and the Internet

Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook?  Amazon has had Diesel Permit issues in VA.  

This kind of feels like a data center witch hunt or McCarthyism trial.