Why is Google buying all the world’s energy?

In today’s Exponential Investor…

  • Down the rabbit hole you go
  • Who’s the biggest of them all?
  • Perfect intersection of ideas

The Dunton Technical centre is a large “campus” owned and operated by Ford Motor Company in Essex.

It hosts a number of functions for Ford including its European Commercial Vehicle business group, UK sales and marketing, and its E:PrIME facility.

E:PrIME stands for Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering. It’s a facility to help Ford develop its next generation electric vehicles manufacturing processes.

And recently Ford inked a deal with Vodafone to install a private 5G network at the facility. According to the Vodafone press release,

Once the installation is complete, the blue-chip car manufacturer will primarily focus on using the [5G] connectivity for its welding machines in the manufacture of electric vehicles. According to Ford, batteries and electric motors within an electric vehicle require around 1,000 welds.

I bet you hadn’t considered that 5G would be crucial to the manufacturing of an electric vehicle. Not many people would consider this. But that’s just one area the mainstream refuses to acknowledge when looking at the impact 5G will have on the world.

What’s really fascinating about this 5G installation though is why it’s needed in the first place. Ford estimates that in performing this manufacturing process with around 1,000 welds, it is creating around 500,000 pieces of data every minute.

And without high-speed low latency 5G networks, these processes simply don’t function as intended. As mentioned, when you consider what Ford is doing with Vodafone and 5G here, you can see the kinds of opportunity this creates when it comes to the 5G boom.

But when you dive down into that rabbit hole a little deeper, you also find something else. Something that again, you won’t necessarily find unless you know what you’re looking for.

Big Green, Big Data

Yesterday I explained to you how we’re in a new world. A world that is going through a period of acceleration when it comes to another investment boom, the “green energy boom”.

It’s certainly something that was going to play out one way or another. But thanks to the events of 2020 so far, there’s been a concerted push to really get global economies firing in bringing forward “green” policy to help climb out of the financial mess they’re in.

And this is already creating massive opportunities in the market. That’s why James Allen, editor of Exponential Energy Fortunes, and Kit Winder are launching an exclusive six-day event with some of the biggest names in global energy, starting this Monday 27 July.

Their event, Beyond Oil: The Birth of Big Green, will explore the energy transition underway and uncover how investors can play this market for maximum reward. As mentioned yesterday, James and Kit are making this event completely free for Exponential Investor readers, but you have to secure your spot on the list by clicking here and registering.

James and Kit will show you how “Big Green” is the new “Big Oil”. But if you’ve had your ear even close to the tech world over the last few years, you might have heard of something else that’s been coined the new “Big Oil”…

Big Data.

“Data is the new oil” is something that’s been bandied around the investment scene for a while now. And it’s built around the idea that much of our modern world is built on data. To an extent, that’s true.

When we look to ever-more advanced networks and systems, they are increasingly reliant on data to make “smart” decisions. Even at home, your “smart home” is dependent on piles of data about you and about your world to help manage a more efficient household.

The same applies to business and industry like manufacturing. And this is why Ford and Vodafone decided to install and run a private 5G network to ensure their data flow was up to the standard needed in our hyper-connected, “real-time” world.

But the other thing that needs serious attention which perhaps isn’t being looked at in the right way is, where does this data go?

Most people think of data as an intangible object. It’s just… well, it’s just data. It exists in the computer, or in the phone, or in the cloud. And to a certain extent yes, you can’t just pick up data in your hands and toss it over to someone else… sort of.

Data, while not immediately physical in nature, does occupy physical space. It exists in storage devices, like a flash drive. That data is moved around at light-speed between devices, from drive to drive, along fibre optic cabling, through wireless networks, into new storage and new server racks, processed through other processors and run through software after software after software to become something useful: information.

But as I say, the idea that data is intangible is almost correct, but the reality is data exists all around us, and often in giant “data centres” which are run by some of the world’s biggest and most powerful companies.

Intertwined and intersecting

Remember yesterday I explained that you should keep in mind that the biggest purchasers of renewable energy last year were Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft? Well, it’s for good reason.

You see they are buying up all this renewable energy because they need to power their gigantic data centres. A company like Google has to deal with around 40 million searches a second, which is around 1.2 trillion searches per year.

That’s a lot of data that needs to be accessed instantly. That’s why Google has data centres all over the world. Most are in the US, but there are others in Singapore, Ireland, Finland, Chile and Belgium.

It’s estimated its Oklahoma data centre is just shy of one million square feet in size. Facebook, Amazon, all of them have huge and numerous data centres. And every one is a power hungry beast.

The good news is that these tech giants have committed to making these data centres clean and green. But not all of them have onsite renewable energy facilities.

That means they have to buy in green energy to power their data centres. And that’s what makes these power-hungry, yet green-minded, tech giants some of the biggest purchasers of green energy in the world.

With that said, you just need to apply some simple logic to see where this is all heading.

We already create zettabytes of data every year. Our world is increasingly getting hyper-connected and the volume of data we are all creating is exponentially growing. We’re also leaning more and more on big tech to provide us with the tools and devices used to navigate our digital existence.

The volume of data increasing. The speed at which data is created and flows is increasing too. And the necessity for bigger, better and more efficient data centres will exponentially grow with it. The huge power demand for all of this only increases as well.

To me that opens up a myriad of opportunity just based around the idea of data and where and how it flows around our world. It might be the physical hardware that’s needed inside the giant data centres. It might be the connectivity like 5G that’s used to wirelessly transmit that data around the world. It might be the huge demand for clean, green energy to power this future.

It might even be the very data itself that we can monetise and derive reward from. This can be achieved though networks like decentralised, distribute cryptocurrency networks.
If you’re not looking at least at one of those right now, then you might be in the wrong game altogether.


Sam Volkering
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Energy

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