Webcast The biggest challenge in getting to the next level of supercomputer performance – Exascale – is the massive amounts of electricity these systems will consume. On a smaller scale, energy consumption also inhibits HPC installations. The problem isn’t just getting enough plugs from your walls to the grid; it’s also the cost of electricity when you’re guzzling it in such massive quantities.
Regardless of where you live or the deal you’ve cut with your local utility, megawatts of power cost mega-dough. Here in the hydropower-rich Pacific Northwest, commercial customers pay around 10 cents per kilowatt hour, and industrial users pay about 6.5 cents for the same juice (although that’s an ‘interruptible’ rate – which is probably a deal-breaker for HPC installations). At a dime per KWh ($100 per MWh), the annual cost per megawatt comes in at $876,000.