Category: Tech

Former Public Utilities Commissioner from Paonia sends up warning flags about legislation, construction of hyperscale data centers & the sharp rise in electricity consumption

Inside a hyperscale data center. More than 100 such data centers were built in 2020, and now hundreds more are in the pipeline. Their  massive power consumption is threatening the power grid.Amazon, Google and Microsoft operate half of the world’s 600 hyperscale data centers.

Colorado Senate Bill SB24-085, “Sales & Use Tax Rebate for Digital Asset Purchases” introduced on January 24th, would give substantial tax savings incentives to stimulate construction of new data centers in Colorado.

John C. Gavan of Paonia, who has a 25 year career in tech and sat on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, argues this is a VERY bad idea for Colorado’s environment and ratepayers, and he really wants readers to know why. He says he can only talk about this now because his term as a commissioner on the PUC expired last year, which freed him to discuss it.

First, readers need to know that the boom in computer-intensive tech, like artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, crypto mining and businesses outsourcing their IT to cloud-based systems, combined with the rush to electrify cars and homes are all pushing our country’s existing power grid to the brink, leading to a major power crunch and imperiling utilities’ ability to meet the rapid, massive increase in demand.