Thursday, June 9, 2011

Duke Energy could make bank on iCloud

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge Photo credit: Clive Darr
  • Photo credit: Clive Darr

What is iCloud, from Apple? Check it out:

iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.

OK, that's still vague, but after poking around on the company's iCloud page, I've learned that it is, essentially, a virtual hard drive. So, instead of saving electronic files to your computer or an external memory device (like a CD or thumb drive), you'll save it to the cloud, which you can access from any device with internet access, like your smart phone.

Personally, with the prevalence of hackers and my general distrust for anyone else managing my stuff, this isn't something I'm interested in, but apparently a lot of other people are, and thanks to that interest, Apple has built a giant facility in Maiden, N.C.

You may ask yourselves, "Why Maiden?", as Jeremy Markovich did in this MSNBC.com/ NewsChannel36 article (below). The answer? Cheap electricity from one of Charlotte's darlings, Duke Energy.

Though, while it's cheap it is not free, and the energy giant stands to make some serious coin from the iCloud.

Duke Energy, for one, welcomes our new Apple overlords. Executives gushed about it in a release shortly after the company announced it was coming to Catawba County. “The great thing about a data center is that they run full?out, 24?7, with no shifts and no seasonality," said Clark Gillespy, vice president of Economic Development, Business Development and Territorial Strategies for Duke Energy Carolinas. "It's the type of customer where the meter spins and spins at an exponential pace. It may be the most ideal customer we could have."

"We fully expect Apple to be one of our top ten customers in the Carolinas," said Stu Heishman, Duke's director of Business Development. Duke also lobbied to get the Google and Facebook server farms, and supplies power to them both.

How much power would the data center use? Duke won’t say. According to an April report from Greenpeace, the place has the potential to suck down 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power roughly 80,000 homes (Millar is skeptical. “That’s crazy,” he says). Greenpeace isn’t happy. As they point out, much of that power is generated by coal and nuclear fission. Jobs says the the Maiden facility is “as eco-friendly as you can make a modern data center,” although he didn’t elaborate. Calls to Apple were not returned.

Read the entire article here.

Of course, more energy demands mean the company will have to produce more energy to satisfy their big corporate customers. That means more coal will be harvested from our mountains and burned in the plants that pollute our air and water. It also means that our current, aging nuclear plants will be busy creating more toxic waste.

What would be great is a news report that Apple, Google and Facebook all fill their properties with wind turbines and solar panels instead of taxing our state's electricity grid and polluting our environment with their energy-hungry products. Though, it's important to note that it's our demand for those products that sparks the whole deal.

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