Dec 9, 2022Liked by Packy McCormick


The one thing that a chip plant REALLY needs is water. I think a chip fab uses something like 10 million gallons of water a day; 2 enormous new chip fabs would probably use 10x that.

Given Arizona's increased population and well documented issues with water - this doesn't seem like a good combination.

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There's an Ars Technica article about this here: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2021/06/why-do-chip-makers-keep-building-foundries-in-the-arizona-desert/

The article makes an interesting point that solar capability might also be a forward-looking factor (among other factors) - so maybe someday in the future these fabs might even run on renewables?

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The Ars Technica article does enormous hand waving on the water issue: reclamation.

Sure, you can reclaim the water. It is brutally expensive and the waste is highly toxic. I guess the desert is good for dumping that?

Nor is the solar argument the least bit persuasive. The sun shines, at best, half a day - solar isn't going to provide power when it is dark whereas chip fabs run 24/7/365.

It is 99% likely that the chip fabs are going into Arizona primarily due to Federal subsidies, secondarily due to local subsidies, and tertiarily because Mesa Arizona already has chip fabs and so there is at least some infrastructure and personnel around to build on.

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I love the excitement that these weekly posts give me. Thank you for continuing to surface and explore the potential (and inevitable) bright future.

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