[Possible OT] California, and running off of generators for extended periods

I'd agree with this statement.

Although some politicians have made a deal about the "Internet" economies
effects on the power situation in California, the major colo and hosting
companies don't really have much effect on the "peak" load. They already
have either interruptible contracts, or go on generator when the voltage
starts fluctuating. When the grid is down to the last 0.5%, a lot of
data center load is already shed off the grid. Which really shows you how
bad things have gotten.

The problems with doing this on a regular basis.

"STANDBY" power systems are standby systems. It seems obvious, but folks
don't always remember it. Standby plants are not designed, built or
maintained for continious operation. When you order a generator from
Catapiller, you have three options: Primary, Continious and Standby.
The different types of generators have different costs, and standard

Maintaining and operating a continious power plant is very different from
a standby power plant. Its effects everything from OSHA regulations to
the type of employees you need on staff.

The Environmental Protection Agency assumes standby generators operate
when the grid is off-line, so the net pollution is about zero. If you
operate while the grid is on-line, the EPA will start asking for impact
statements. For local pollution controls, the assumption is standby
generators operate a maximum of 250 hours per year (including testing,
standby duty, etc). Normally not a problem, except maybe this year. Once
again, more than 250 hours of operation, and someone will want an impact
statement. Some local air quality control boards may have more stringiant

And finally, the most important factor: cost. Power from the grid is
the average cost of power including very cheap hydro and nuclear to
more expensive coal and gas fueled plants. While the peak cost of
operating your own diesel may be less, the average cost is usually more.

If you've been reading the newspapers, you will have seen a number of
people making noise about co-generation plants. Many large universities
already have on-campus co-gen facilities. The problem is in the past
co-gen only made sense when you had a use for the "excess" heat, such
as heating the college campus. The one thing colo/hosting facilities
don't need is excess heat. But, depending on how the market shapes
up, it may make financial sense to operate your own power facility.
If you can partner with a nearby institution which needs the heat, and
can share the reliable power (e.g. a hospital, hotel, large office
complex) you might make it work.