This is very good indeed, but I wonder if we can lump electricity together as a commodity here. My understanding is that for small DCs that’s fine but for hyperscale it’s not. I understand that green energy at huge scale can be hard for AWS etc.. to get their hands on, thus making it no longer a commodity that is interchangeable with fossil electricity. So, I’d be tempted to split electricity into 2. We have (at hyperscale) a commodity competing with a non-commodity. At low visibility, that’s a big problem but it’s not unsurmountable. Let’s look at logistics. A decade ago, delivery was a commodity — cheap and standardised by the postal service. Retailers realised it could also be a premium product (next day etc..) for which customers would pay more and the retailers could actually make a profit. They raised the visibility, and price, of what had been a commodity. From your excellent map, I suspect we might have to do something similar here. Note that Amazon (the retailer) created their own delivery system to provide the premium product and absorb all the profit. The analogy would be them building green power stations. My guess is they’d only do this if green power became a premium product that DC customers were willing to pay more for.


SciFi author interested in tech, engineering, science, art, SF, economics, psychology, startups. Chaotic evil.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store