America running out of Electricity

… and it’s not EVs, but rather increasing demand from Bitcoin mining and AI data centers.



“Amid explosive demand…”? Huh?

I can’t read the WP article due to paywall, but the US consumed slightly less electricity in 2023 than it did in 2022. This is true even if we add in the estimated production from small scale solar power.

From the above, if we look at total US electricity in 2023 compared to 2013, the average growth rate is less than 0.5% per year. Growing, yes, but I wouldn’t exactly call it “explosive” growth. Net imports appear to be less than 1% for 2023, so that isn’t a big factor.

  • Pete

The soaring demand is touching off a scramble to try to squeeze more juice out of an aging power grid while pushing commercial customers to go to extraordinary lengths to lock down energy sources, such as building their own power plants.

“When you look at the numbers, it is staggering,” said Jason Shaw, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission, which regulates electricity. “It makes you scratch your head and wonder how we ended up in this situation. How were the projections that far off? This has created a challenge like we have never seen before.”

A major factor behind the skyrocketing demand is the rapid innovation in artificial intelligence, which is driving the construction of large warehouses of computing infrastructure that require exponentially more power than traditional data centers. AI is also part of a huge scale-up of cloud computing. Tech firms like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft are scouring the nation for sites for new data centers, and many lesser-known firms are also on the hunt.

The proliferation of crypto-mining, in which currencies like bitcoin are transacted and minted, is also driving data center growth. It is all putting new pressures on an overtaxed grid — the network of transmission lines and power stations that move electricity around the country. Bottlenecks are mounting, leaving both new generators of energy, particularly clean energy, and large consumers facing growing wait times for hookups.

Article mentioned one data center planned for the Portland OR area that would consume the electric power required for 45,000 homes.

{{ The Portland project Halaburda and Khalili are developing will now be powered in large part by off-the-grid, high-tech fuel cells that convert natural gas into low-emissions electricity. The technology will be supplemented by whatever power can be secured from the grid. The partners decided that on their next project, in South Texas, they’re not going to take their chances with the grid at all. Instead, they will drill thousands of feet into the ground to draw geothermal energy. }}



From the GridStrategies link:
“Over the past decade, grid planners have been forecasting a mere 0.5% annual growth rate, as summarized by NERC. Yet in 2023, annual peak demand growth is up to at least 0.9%, driven by data centers, industrial facilities, and other near-term investments.”

So, it is important to plan for peak demand rather than average demand. Do they grow at different rates?


Here ya go…

Amid explosive demand, America is running out of power
The situation is sparking battles across the nation over who will pay for new power supplies, with regulators worrying that residential ratepayers could be stuck with the bill for costly upgrades.

It also threatens to stifle the transition to cleaner energy, as utility executives lobby to delay the retirement of fossil fuel plants and bring more online. The power crunch imperils their ability to supply the energy that will be needed to charge the millions of electric cars and household appliances required to meet state and federal climate goals…

Already, soaring power consumption is delaying coal plant closures in Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and South Carolina.


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This is why there is a commercial need for the nuclear microreactors being field tested at the National Research Lab in Idaho. Also, the need for security from hackers and severe weather will drive the early adoption of such microreactors by data centers, universities, and industrial facilities even if the energy cost is higher than the grid.

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Peak demand is always a consideration. Intermittent or not, it must be there.

Well, unless you like brownouts, curtailment and rolling interruptions.

A factor to consider, certainly. Determinant? Not hardly.

If you had to build every highway near the shore for “peak travel” it would have to be 10 lanes wide for when a hurricane is coming in. Cell phone systems sag during times of national emergency, but you don’t want a cell tower on every block.

There are other ways of handling peak traffic and utilities are already utilitizing some of them: permissions to turn off certain household appliances, for instance. Public appeals to conserve, for example. These may not be ideal, but they’re better than retiring the entire country so some data center in Virginia can have more power to draw funny pictures of cats on Facebook.

@intercst @waterfell

WaPo maybe correct in 2024. Demand for gas to trade BTC has gone verticle this year. BTC and Eth are soaring. We are in a new bull market for cryptos and NFTs.

The mining of BTC will drop soon raising the value.

When in 2024 is the next Bitcoin halving?

April 19th, 2024

When is the Next Bitcoin Halving? The next halving is estimated to take place on April 19th, 2024. It will reduce the block reward to 3.125 BTC. This date is based on current estimates that change with every new block.

A nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania will provide power directly to an Amazon data center.

Talen Energy Corporation has announced the sale of its 960 MW Cumulus data centre campus in northeast Pennsylvania to Amazon Web Services, with a long-term agreement to provide power from Talen’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant.

The Cumulus campus is directly connected to the two-unit nuclear power plant. The data centre’s four substations have a total potential 960 MW of redundant capacity, including 200 MW that is currently associated with the Nautilus cryptocurrency facility, in which Talen will retain its 75% interest. A further 240 MW of redundant capacity for data centres is expected to be ready this year. The campus features a “robust and redundant” fibre network.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

960 MW for one data center is a large amount of power. The people at Amazon Web Services must understand the advantage of getting power from a 24-hours-a-day baseload supplier like the Susquehanna nuclear plant.

  • Pete
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I read a similar story on this topic a few months back that included a reference to a community I think was in Pennsylvania. A nearby data center company found a large percentage of its compute load for its clients was crypto related (whether those clients actually intended their compute to be used for crypto mining or not). Because that sustained load within the data center was such a large portion of the overall community’s elecric demand, all of those residential customers were paying FAR HIGHER rates for electricity than they would have had the data center and its crypto load not been there. In effect, residential customers are also subsidizing crypto mania in addition to data center operators and companies who fail to secure their private data centers or leased compute within commercial data centers.



I think there’s a difference between peak demand and peak emergency demand. You should design for the former, not for the latter (it’s almost impossible to design for the latter anyway).

That’s mainly to take advantage of the ETF holders (“suckers”). Every time people put money into an ETF, and every time people take money out of an ETF, the ETF pays the gas fees. Again and again and again and again. Meanwhile all the holders of the ETF, not just the ones trading in and out, see their value ever so slowly being eroded by those gas fees. HODLers aren’t affected by those gas fees at all.

That is the least of it.

There is a four-year cycle for BTC. The halving on April 19 changes the supply. Less than 2 years from now the supply will be old hat and a bear market will happen but it drop to the last highs. Not to this this last bottom. This is the 4th cycle. Eth 3rd cycle.

Because there is no underlying enterprise value, the price is propped up by new money. That means at most 50% of owners can make money. But the high transaction costs mean it is impossible to get all of the money out that has been put in.

Bitcoin is literally a negative sum game.


That sounds like the definition of a Ponzi scheme.

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It is really more of a greater fool scam. People buy Bitcoin because they think it is the future of finance or some BS and then become evangelical about it, possibly subconsciously, because Bitcoin can’t have value unless people start to widely use it. Of course, if everyone is hodling, it can’t become widely adopted.


That is true for all human folly.

The cost of oil is not just at the pump. Think climate change.

The cost of gold?

People really need to tear down the forests to create mcmansions for a family of 2.17.

Your car is a blackhole for money.

If you smoke? Or drink too much.

Your food has plastic in it. So much for just being a wrapper.


Hotdogs? Legally only 2% crap.

Mother’s milk…a chemical bath.

This comes from the Georgia Power Public Service Commission who was asleep at the wheel when they approved Southern Company/Georgia Power to proceed to put all their eggs into the Vogtle 3&4 projects costing over $30 billion and over 15 years. They could have had 10 times as much power generation from solar and natural gas power plants much sooner and much cheaper.
Jaak (nuclear engineer)


Unasked question: How much generated power is lost “in transit” due to old/repaired/degraded transmission systems that needs to be replaced?