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Chip fabrication plants can not handle rolling blackouts Electric service interruption is one of the major causes of semiconductor fab losses (Global).It can take a week or more for a fabrication plant to start up again (EPRI 2003).If the power goes out at any point in that time frame, the entire batch can be destroyed (Clark). The earthquake and tsunami in Japan took out nearly 70% of global semiconductor silicon wafers, the platform computer chips are built on (Dobosz). Emergency and Backup Power Sources: Preparing for Blackouts and Brownouts. Production of microchips to control car electronic operations was stopped at 10 Renesas factories where about 40% of these microprocessors are made, mainly due to power outages, not physical damage. Billions of microprocessors have been incorporated into industrial sensors, home appliances, and other devices. These digital devices are highly sensitive to even the slightest disruption (an outage of a small fraction of a single cycle can disrupt performance), as well as to variations in power quality due to transients, harmonics, and voltage surges and sags. Achieving higher power quality places an additional burden on the power system.
Chip fabrication can stop for weeks after a short electric power disturbance or outage, potentially ruining an entire 30-hour batch of microprocessors and manufacturing equipment.
There can be losses of millions of dollars an hour when a chip fabrication plant shuts down (Sheppard).
Chip fabrication & Financial system Interdependency “The semiconductor industry is widely recognized as a key driver for economic growth in its role as a multiple lever and technology enabler for the whole electronics value chain.
Just about everything that matters — financial systems, transportation, drinking water, sewage treatment, etc — is interdependent with both electricity and microprocessors, which are found in just about every electronic device from toasters to computers.
Low Quality Electricity The electric power system was designed to serve electric loads—those without microprocessors—and is largely unable to consistently provide the level of digital quality power required by digital manufacturing assembly lines and information systems, and, soon, even our home appliances.