Microsoft Dodges $210,000 Fine By Wasting Millions Of Watts Of Electricity

· Science

After overestimating its energy needs, the software giant allegedly strong-armed a small-town utility into reducing a six-figure penalty by threatening to needlessly burn millions of watts.

Facebook’s Massive Prineville, Ore., Data Center Server farms like these contain all of the data users store in “the cloud,” putting huge strains on local, usually small-town power grids. Tom Raftery via Wikimedia

The New York Times is taking data centers and those who build them to task today in two different pieces, one of which paints Microsoft as an energy-hungry bully to a small Washington state community. The Times reports that Microsoft wasted millions of watts of energy in December of last year by unnecessarily running huge heating units and threatened to waste millions more if a $210,000 penalty for overestimating its energy use was not rescinded by the local utility. Naturally Microsoft got its way, but the showdown underscores the massive strains these server farms place on local energy grids.

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