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News [Bloomberg] Samsung Considers $10 Billion Texas Chipmaking Plant, Sources Say

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Panino Manino

Senior member
Jan 28, 2017
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I'm glad to hear they are shutting down non essential factories. The grid is collapsing, the energy should be diverted to keeping homes lit and heated.
But I wonder what will be the impact of that 10000% increase in energy price.

Real-time wholesale market prices on the power grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) were more than $9,000 per megawatt hour late Monday morning, compared with pre-storm prices of less than $50 per megawatt hour, according to ERCOT data.
 

beginner99

Diamond Member
Jun 2, 2009
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Also, try running a fab (and an internationally integrated, export oriented economy) after every country around the world shut their doors. It just won't happen. TSMC will be worthless to the Chinese if they tried something so clumsy.
Simply shutting TSMC down could however be great for China in that it also cripples the Wests access to modern production facility. Kind of an equalizer. China then uses their own tech which is less far behind to what the West has outside of TSMC (mostly intel). See if you are on 28nm, and you shut down your enemies 5nm forcing them back on 14nm it's a win too.
 

coercitiv

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2014
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Simply shutting TSMC down could however be great for China in that it also cripples the Wests access to modern production facility. Kind of an equalizer. China then uses their own tech which is less far behind to what the West has outside of TSMC (mostly intel). See if you are on 28nm, and you shut down your enemies 5nm forcing them back on 14nm it's a win too.
Technically you'd be forcing the west on Samsung nodes... which ain't tragic except for obvious capacity problems. They would set the west back for a few cycles, while the entire world would start building capacity not for chip making, but for device production and assembly. The fallout would be quite unpredictable for China, lots of domino pieces get moving if anyone does anything rash.
 

moinmoin

Platinum Member
Jun 1, 2017
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Somebody noted that Texas has (had?) its own disconnected power grid (so other states couldn't help if they wanted), is that still true?
 

gdansk

Senior member
Feb 8, 2011
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For Texas. If I'm Samsung or really any other semiconductor company, I'm not putting critical facilities in Texas after this.
I was thinking the US in general but it's another nail in the coffin of industry here. Reliable power seems like a prerequisite.
 
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Doug S

Senior member
Feb 8, 2020
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Somebody noted that Texas has (had?) its own disconnected power grid (so other states couldn't help if they wanted), is that still true?
Yes, it is true. Texas deliberately chose that so they wouldn't be covered under any federal regulations which other states have to comply with since their power is transmitted across state lines.

Crazy overreaching regulations, like "you must weather proof critical equipment to survive all possible weather conditions that location may endure" which is why no other state sees generation facilities going offline due to sensors that can't handle cold or ice - not even other southern states.
 

dr1337

Member
May 25, 2020
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Crazy overreaching regulations, like "you must weather proof critical equipment to survive all possible weather conditions that location may endure" which is why no other state sees generation facilities going offline due to sensors that can't handle cold or ice - not even other southern states.
Texas specific problems are one thing sure but its not like the rest of the grid doesn't have its own problems too. We had a lot of rolling blackouts in my area for a bit because all of the wind turbines froze over, and the funny thing is that I live much further north than texas. I imagine this was part of the problem too but any sort of regulation regarding sensors doesn't matter if your power generating equipment itself doesn't work in cold weather.

Which one could reply and say, well they should be better regulated and built better. And I'd agree. But its clear that the crazy overreaching regulations that texas was trying to dodge didn't even really help in other states either... So maybe not being forced to do redundant pointless modifications that may or may not be critical is a legitimate reason to have their own grid. But on the flipside they clearly aren't smart enough or forward looking enough regardless because they're still in this mess too regardless.
 

podspi

Golden Member
Jan 11, 2011
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Texas specific problems are one thing sure but its not like the rest of the grid doesn't have its own problems too. We had a lot of rolling blackouts in my area for a bit because all of the wind turbines froze over, and the funny thing is that I live much further north than texas. I imagine this was part of the problem too but any sort of regulation regarding sensors doesn't matter if your power generating equipment itself doesn't work in cold weather.

Which one could reply and say, well they should be better regulated and built better. And I'd agree. But its clear that the crazy overreaching regulations that texas was trying to dodge didn't even really help in other states either... So maybe not being forced to do redundant pointless modifications that may or may not be critical is a legitimate reason to have their own grid. But on the flipside they clearly aren't smart enough or forward looking enough regardless because they're still in this mess too regardless.
Interested in hearing more about this - that shouldn't happen and sounds like grid mismanagement wherever you are from - wind turbines freezing is not something unexpected and fairly easy to plan for. Kinda like a rainy day for PV - if you're running on the ragged edge with unfirmed capacity outages are going to happen.

More on topic, shutting down fabs are EXPENSIVE and I expect these larger multinationals building fabs in TX will put a lot of pressure on the State government to fix this problem, or lose out on future investment. It isn't reasonable for them to supply their own power, although w/ Samsung being the huge conglomerate they are, they probably COULD. But it'd probably be cheaper to just locate somewhere with half-decent infrastructure.
 
Mar 11, 2004
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Texas specific problems are one thing sure but its not like the rest of the grid doesn't have its own problems too. We had a lot of rolling blackouts in my area for a bit because all of the wind turbines froze over, and the funny thing is that I live much further north than texas. I imagine this was part of the problem too but any sort of regulation regarding sensors doesn't matter if your power generating equipment itself doesn't work in cold weather.

Which one could reply and say, well they should be better regulated and built better. And I'd agree. But its clear that the crazy overreaching regulations that texas was trying to dodge didn't even really help in other states either... So maybe not being forced to do redundant pointless modifications that may or may not be critical is a legitimate reason to have their own grid. But on the flipside they clearly aren't smart enough or forward looking enough regardless because they're still in this mess too regardless.
I can all but guarantee that's not actually what the issue was (just like it isn't in Texas despite how much political right wingers scream that it is; I really hope you don't assume people are that ignorant to just believe that...). Most likely your neck of the woods saw the same issues that Texas did for similarly stupid reasons (if you're North of Texas you're almost certainly in a red state, and you're delusional if you think they're not as keen on cutting corners as Texas is - they don't have the clout Texas does to do their own grid but that doesn't mean they're actually following regulations either, and yes I lived in an area north of Texas that is as full of Texas sized morons per capita as Texas is and they regularly had f'ups by energy companies that constantly whined that they didn't get to charge people whatever they want while they often had serious f'ups because they were found to not be following regulations; energy and fossil fuel companies have also been deliberately trying to sabotage any enforcement or even just assessment as well).

Also, if you're North of Texas then you also almost certainly got quite a bit worse weather than Texas, but you can try and argue that somehow is just as bad as Texas. It won't make sense, but you're free to try.

Plus, weird how "crazy overreaching regulations" didn't magically cripple those places constantly either, yet that's what Texas is claiming as a defense. So, sorry, while certainly there's issues with the grid, acting like regulations are "crazy overreaching" while pointing to flaws is so monumentally hilariously nonsensical that I just have to laugh. "Clearly they need more regulations so that this doesn't happen again, but regulations are evil overreaches and shouldn't be allowed!"

You might not live in Texas now, but you've got to be from Texas. Only a Texan would try and defend this while ranting about regulatory overreach.
 
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Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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Not sure if Texas will rethink being off the grid or they'll just reinforce it just in case the future brings more foul weather.

This video is from the area that my parents, brother, sister, and wife's sister and parents families live. My bro says the water has been shut off for 5 days and counting! They've got bottled water, but have to shovel snow and melt it for the toilets!

 

Thunder 57

Golden Member
Aug 19, 2007
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When did this become a political thread? The whole "red states bad" and crap about regulation doesn't belong here. Yes, wind turbines should not be freezing up because some people wanted to save a few bucks. They work fine in many places way more cold. But as was said in Forest Gump, **It happens. Not like California hasn't had rolling blackouts. Should we be saying "blue states bad" too? Texas is hardly red anyhow, more purple.

Sorry to complain, but this country is divided enough as is. Not everything needs to become a political issue.
 
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DrMrLordX

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Apr 27, 2000
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@Thunder 57

Politics aside, Samsung is going to be paying very close attention to the way Texas handles this situation when deciding whether or not to build more fabs there. Cali's power situation has already got to be a major turn-off to anyone looking to build manufacturing there.
 

Panino Manino

Senior member
Jan 28, 2017
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When did this become a political thread? The whole "red states bad" and crap about regulation doesn't belong here. Yes, wind turbines should not be freezing up because some people wanted to save a few bucks. They work fine in many places way more cold. But as was said in Forest Gump, **It happens. Not like California hasn't had rolling blackouts. Should we be saying "blue states bad" too? Texas is hardly red anyhow, more purple.

Sorry to complain, but this country is divided enough as is. Not everything needs to become a political issue.
While the democrats are often collaborators it's actually the republicans fault, yes.

Enron was not the only Lone Star power pirate. Houston Power & Light was “ramping” plants up and down at odd hours which whistleblowers said was deliberate.

Bush’s son “Shrub,” Texas Gov. George W. Bush, signed a law in 1999 forcing the state’s hapless customers to accept any price the “free” market dictated. Enron’s CEO Ken Lay showed his appreciation by becoming Baby Bush’s number one donor for Dubya’s presidential ambitions.
 
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thesmokingman

Platinum Member
May 6, 2010
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@Thunder 57

Politics aside, Samsung is going to be paying very close attention to the way Texas handles this situation when deciding whether or not to build more fabs there. Cali's power situation has already got to be a major turn-off to anyone looking to build manufacturing there.
It should present a major hurdle (at least a pause) to any entity thinking of entering the state in light of the fiasco and failures of their grid system.
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
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Realistically it should encourage more businesses to build their own on-site renewable power sources for generation and storage like most data centers do because it really doesn't matter why the power is out when it's out and passing blame doesn't get it turned back on any sooner. If your business is worth enough, it's worth investing in making sure that it can keep operating even under extreme circumstances.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
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Realistically it should encourage more businesses to build their own on-site renewable power sources for generation and storage like most data centers do because it really doesn't matter why the power is out when it's out and passing blame doesn't get it turned back on any sooner. If your business is worth enough, it's worth investing in making sure that it can keep operating even under extreme circumstances.
Or a micro nuclear reactor in the basement.
 
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Doug S

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Feb 8, 2020
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Having on site renewable power generation able to act as a "backup" - i.e. fully cover the full 24x7x365 load - is a nice goal but you'd have to size it significantly larger or have massive batteries to make it work. Basically you'd have to build it as if there is no connection to the grid. There's a reason that net zero buildings are almost always designed to connect to the grid, because that once a decade situation where it rains for five straight days with no wind is hard to design for.

What's more, if you had a fab operating with its own multi megawatt on site generation, while everyone around you has no power and is enduring freezing temperatures to the point where people are actually dying it would not be good PR. So if you have a grid connection, you pretty much have to feed that power back rather than use it yourself if you don't want a big protest outside your front gate.

And given how many people are still without water, the fab would have to have its own water source too. Yet still, you might have to shut down because employees can't physically make it there when you have snow/ice covered streets in an area that has almost no capability to plow/treat roads, and when there's no power gas stations don't work so even employees who can drive there might run out of gas and not be able to continue the commute before things get back to normal.

There's really no way something like a fab could possibly plan to operate under the conditions Texas endured last week. It would be much easier for them to extract guarantees against interruption of power and water by the state as part of the tax incentives - i.e. if something like this happens again they owe you another couple hundred million in tax credits. I'm sure the politicians would be happy to sign off on that, because they know they will just blame someone else if it happens again.
 

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