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Business Insider has a story about the sometimes unrecognized consequences of Amazon's continued expansion - and how new data centers being built in Virginia are sucking up an enormous amount of energy.

"Just a few miles from the $5 billion second headquarters that Amazon is raising outside of Washington DC," the story says, "the tech giant is in the midst of a far larger, and less conspicuous, building boom," developing "$87 billion worth of data centers, a push that has already made it the biggest player in the world's largest data center market in northern Virginia. The featureless, warehouse-like structures are easy to miss on the sides of highways or tucked unassumingly amid suburban neighborhoods. 

"Data centers, including Amazon's, play an increasingly central, but unseen role in modern life, housing the digital infrastructure that powers critical functions such as e-commerce, autonomous vehicles, video streaming, and, now, artificial intelligence."

But here's the kicker:  "The facilities consume quantities of power so vast that they have begun to tax entire energy grids and could exacerbate the climate crisis."   Just the Virginia data centers, the Insider concludes, "when they are all up and running, will have emergency generators capable of producing more than 4.6 gigawatts of power. That's almost enough backup electrical capacity to light up all of New York City on an average day.

"In the data center industry, the installation of backup power is standard practice to guard against electrical interruptions and almost always exceeds the amount of electricity a facility actually consumes."

The story notes that "Amazon does not disclose how many data centers it occupies, where they are located, or how much electricity they consume. The company's data facilities are tied to its large cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, which offers software, storage, and other services to legions of customers."

You can read the entire Business Inside analysis here.

Gee, wasn't it just the other day that Amazon lost the endorsement of its carbon reduction efforts by The Science Based Targets initiative, a United Nations-backed entity that validates net zero plans?

I said it then - it is hard to reconcile Amazon's desire to be a responsible steward of Earth's resources - or at least be seen as a responsible steward of Earth's resources  and its reality as an enormous consumer of said resources because of its basic business model.

The Eye-Opening chickens of reality may be coming to roost.