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Pentagon Working with TSMC?

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
I have mentioned this before, Taiwan's independence from China is guaranteed by TSMC, absolutely!

Pentagon, With an Eye on China, Pushes for Help From American Tech
Talks over how U.S. companies can ensure future supplies of advanced computer chips have taken on more urgency. The Pentagon increasingly depends on chips made abroad, especially by companies like the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.

65


Interesting snippets:

Mark Liu, the chairman of TSMC, said he had recently discussed options for a new factory in the United States with the Commerce Department. The stumbling block was money; major subsidies would be required, he said, as it is more expensive to operate in America than Taiwan. “It is all up to when we can close the cost gap,” he said in an interview.

“We have vulnerabilities we really need to address, but we are still the dominant producer of electronics in the world,” said Mark Rosker, the director of DARPA’s microsystems technology office. He said questions about the American semiconductor industry called for “a graceful and considered kind of panic.”

Another impetus for action stems from a recent pullback by GlobalFoundries. The chip maker, owned by investors in Abu Dhabi, has spent around $12 billion on a sophisticated factory in Malta, N.Y. But it announced last year that it would stop trying to create smaller circuitry than that on its existing production processes.

“What will happen when China makes its drive toward Taiwan? What will happen to TSMC?” asked Diane Bryant, a former Intel executive who is now a technology investor. “What is our way out of this pickle?”

The panelists suggested that the federal government should subsidize more domestic chip production. But advanced commercial factories can cost as much as $15 billion, plus the additional recurring costs to run, staff and supply such facilities.

Dr. Liu of TSMC dismissed fears about Taiwan’s continued autonomy. He said he was weighing the pros and cons of a new American factory, though it was too early for a decision. If the financial challenges are overcome, he said, any new facility is likely to be smaller than TSMC’s massive plants in Taiwan and built near a factory it operates in Camas, Wash. “We want to do what makes the best sense for our customers to help them to be competitive, and also deal with national-security concerns,” Dr. Liu said.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Whatever happened to the fab at Fort Meade?
It is still there but very outdated. It really is shocking to me that the US Government has not made a deal with Intel for secure foundry business. Maybe the new CEO will get off the high Intel horse and do some business here.
 

benb

Member
Think what it means when a major high-tech manufacturer wants to come “onshore” but it’s cost prohibitive. That means minimum up $1B difference, to be meaningful (in a $10-15B project).

Infrastructure costs too much in the USA, and gets executed poorly. It’s aggravating when you see instances like this, and think about the implications.

For just one thing: They bury their power lines in Taiwan folks. Which is helpful in a seismically active area, with dense population, needing high reliability. And useful for preventing wildfires. Something we could try in California? I hope the CA folks on the board are safe and have power, by the way.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
Think what it means when a major high-tech manufacturer wants to come “onshore” but it’s cost prohibitive. That means minimum up $1B difference, to be meaningful (in a $10-15B project).

Infrastructure costs too much in the USA, and gets executed poorly. It’s aggravating when you see instances like this, and think about the implications.

For just one thing: They bury their power lines in Taiwan folks. Which is helpful in a seismically active area, with dense population, needing high reliability. And useful for preventing wildfires. Something we could try in California? I hope the CA folks on the board are safe and have power, by the way.
My power is not out but down the street it is. Many businesses are closed and losing money.

My son in-law is a lineman for PGE and my son is a Fireman. They both agree that it would take many years and billions of dollars to bury the millions of miles of lines we have today. They also both agree that PGE has not taken care of the lines and transformers. But where are the property owners responsibilities? We let trees intertwine with power lines then we complain when a tree takes a line down?

My recommendation for the state of California is to put solar panels on every roof with battery back-ups. Get as much power off the grid as possible so it can be repaired and maintained in a proper manner. Instead we just keep on building with little regard to infrastructure because the builders spend billions of dollars on political donations and lobbyists.

Seriously, we have the technology to solve this problem so let's use it.
 

PBealo

New member
Daniel,

I hope your son and son in law stay safe out there! These are trying time for both professions, particularly in California.

The WSJ had a slightly different take on the PG&E issue a few days ago. See below.

Peter B.

"After again shutting power to hundreds of thousands this week, California’s utility PG&E disclosed Thursday that it had discovered a broken jumper cable by the ignition site of a wildfire blazing across Sonoma County. The company has warned of more blackouts this weekend and perhaps for the next decade as it refurbishes its aging grid.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to deflect political blame. “It’s about dog-eat-dog capitalism meeting climate change. It’s about corporate greed meeting climate change. It’s about decades of mismanagement,” Mr. Newsom declared. But Democrats for years have treated PG&E as their de facto political subsidiary. The wildfires and blackouts are the direct result of their mismanagement.


The state Public Utilities Commission is in charge of enforcing state safety laws and regulations, which can carry penalties of up to $50,000 per violation per day. Yet PG&E received no safety fines related to its power-grid management over the last several years. The commission has instead focused on enforcing the Legislature’s climate mandates.

State law mandates that utilities obtain 33% of electric generation from renewables such as wind and solar by 2020 and 60% by 2030. Utilities must spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to reduce the cost of green energy for low-income households. PG&E has prioritized political obeisance over safety.

In 2018 PG&E spent $509 million on electric discounts for low-income customers in addition to $125 million for no-cost weatherization and efficiency upgrades for disadvantaged communities. Utilities also receive allowances from the state’s cap-and-trade program—$7.5 billion since 2012—to pay for other “ratepayer benefits” that reduce emissions.

For instance, the Legislature in 2015 mandated that utilities spend $100 million annually on solar systems in low-income communities. This is on top of the $2.2 billion in customer rebates for rooftop solar installations, which utilities charged to ratepayers between 2007 and 2016. Under the state’s net-metering program, solar customers also get a break on their bills.
Last year PG&E invested more than $150 million in battery storage and “sustainable” technologies, which was paid for by a special charge on ratepayers. PG&E is also spending $130 million over three years to install 7,500 electric-car charging stations and offers drivers a $800 “clean fuel” rebate.

All of this has been part of a Democratic political strategy to use PG&E to advance their climate agenda without raising taxes. But Californians have instead paid through higher electric rates—PG&E rates are twice as high as in Oregon and Washington—while utilities have had to redirect capital and ratepayer revenue away from fortifying the grid and tree-trimming.

Is it any wonder that electric equipment is malfunctioning? PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January amid tens of billions in liabilities for dozens of wildfires linked to its equipment. The utility says it doesn’t know if the failed jumper cable caused the Sonoma fire and that it had done repairs and inspections on the site.

But PG&E customers are rightly furious. They’ve suffered inconvenience and financial losses due to power outages that start with little warning and may go on for days. Who can run a business or household this way? Sorry, kids, you’re going to have to do your homework by candlelight.

Gov. Newsom is demanding that PG&E pay rebates to customers affected by the blackouts. The utility has declined, citing its bankruptcy debts, though it may have to follow the Governor’s orders if investors want to avoid getting wiped out. San Francisco has proposed buying some utility assets, and San Jose wants to turn it into a customer-owned cooperative.

Democrats are accusing PG&E of putting profits over safety, but the utilities commission approves its return on equity based on what’s needed to attract private investment. Utility shareholders are typically older folks who rely on dividends for a reliable stream of income—not billionaire hedge funds.

PG&E has prioritized serving its political overlords above all else. California’s return to the dark ages is a direct result of the Democratic political monopoly in Sacramento."
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
I agree with this 100%. Politicians are bred to get elected and reelected versus solve problems, especially long term problems like infrastructure.

Unfortunately putting up solar panels does not solve the grid problem. You must have batteries so the buildings can use the solar power without having it go back and forth on the grid, right?

And now we are all buying gas powered generators which will pollute even more. Crazy times in California.


Daniel,

I hope your son and son in law stay safe out there! These are trying time for both professions, particularly in California.

The WSJ had a slightly different take on the PG&E issue a few days ago. See below.

Peter B.

"After again shutting power to hundreds of thousands this week, California’s utility PG&E disclosed Thursday that it had discovered a broken jumper cable by the ignition site of a wildfire blazing across Sonoma County. The company has warned of more blackouts this weekend and perhaps for the next decade as it refurbishes its aging grid.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to deflect political blame. “It’s about dog-eat-dog capitalism meeting climate change. It’s about corporate greed meeting climate change. It’s about decades of mismanagement,” Mr. Newsom declared. But Democrats for years have treated PG&E as their de facto political subsidiary. The wildfires and blackouts are the direct result of their mismanagement.


The state Public Utilities Commission is in charge of enforcing state safety laws and regulations, which can carry penalties of up to $50,000 per violation per day. Yet PG&E received no safety fines related to its power-grid management over the last several years. The commission has instead focused on enforcing the Legislature’s climate mandates.

State law mandates that utilities obtain 33% of electric generation from renewables such as wind and solar by 2020 and 60% by 2030. Utilities must spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to reduce the cost of green energy for low-income households. PG&E has prioritized political obeisance over safety.

In 2018 PG&E spent $509 million on electric discounts for low-income customers in addition to $125 million for no-cost weatherization and efficiency upgrades for disadvantaged communities. Utilities also receive allowances from the state’s cap-and-trade program—$7.5 billion since 2012—to pay for other “ratepayer benefits” that reduce emissions.

For instance, the Legislature in 2015 mandated that utilities spend $100 million annually on solar systems in low-income communities. This is on top of the $2.2 billion in customer rebates for rooftop solar installations, which utilities charged to ratepayers between 2007 and 2016. Under the state’s net-metering program, solar customers also get a break on their bills.
Last year PG&E invested more than $150 million in battery storage and “sustainable” technologies, which was paid for by a special charge on ratepayers. PG&E is also spending $130 million over three years to install 7,500 electric-car charging stations and offers drivers a $800 “clean fuel” rebate.

All of this has been part of a Democratic political strategy to use PG&E to advance their climate agenda without raising taxes. But Californians have instead paid through higher electric rates—PG&E rates are twice as high as in Oregon and Washington—while utilities have had to redirect capital and ratepayer revenue away from fortifying the grid and tree-trimming.

Is it any wonder that electric equipment is malfunctioning? PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January amid tens of billions in liabilities for dozens of wildfires linked to its equipment. The utility says it doesn’t know if the failed jumper cable caused the Sonoma fire and that it had done repairs and inspections on the site.

But PG&E customers are rightly furious. They’ve suffered inconvenience and financial losses due to power outages that start with little warning and may go on for days. Who can run a business or household this way? Sorry, kids, you’re going to have to do your homework by candlelight.

Gov. Newsom is demanding that PG&E pay rebates to customers affected by the blackouts. The utility has declined, citing its bankruptcy debts, though it may have to follow the Governor’s orders if investors want to avoid getting wiped out. San Francisco has proposed buying some utility assets, and San Jose wants to turn it into a customer-owned cooperative.

Democrats are accusing PG&E of putting profits over safety, but the utilities commission approves its return on equity based on what’s needed to attract private investment. Utility shareholders are typically older folks who rely on dividends for a reliable stream of income—not billionaire hedge funds.

PG&E has prioritized serving its political overlords above all else. California’s return to the dark ages is a direct result of the Democratic political monopoly in Sacramento."
 

hist78

Member
A more deeper question should be raised is not why TSMC doesn't see it's financially feasible to build a leading edge fab in the US. The question should be why those advance fabs located in the US and owned by Intel, Globalfoundries, and Samsung can't match DoD, DARPA or their suppliers' need?

As a matter of fact, none of Intel's or Samsung's fabs is accredited in the DoD's Trusted Foundry program. Globalfoundries has some of former IBM fabs in the list, but not including their most advance facility, Fab 8, in Saratoga County, New York.


Here are some possibilities that lead to the situation we see today:

1. The DoD's expectation is not realistic in this ever changing semiconductor industry.
2. Intel, Globalfoundries, and Samsung are not interested to meet DoD's requirement.
3. Intel, Globalfoundries, and Samsung have difficulties to meet DoD's need.
4. DoD, DARPA, and their partners and suppliers identified that only TSMC can provide efficient, feasible, and advance manufacturing capability to meet their demand.

Even if DoD can force TSMC to build a leading edge fab in US, but the technology advancement will make that fab lag behind in two to three years.

What's the solution? I think some kinds of joint venture arrangement with strong financial assurance is one possibility.
 

davemill

New member
Daniel Nenni started this thread with the statement, "Taiwan's independence from China is guaranteed by TSMC, absolutely!" But following content did not directly address that point. The thread was later hijacked by a political discussion about PG&E (we lost power twice, BTW).

The question remains: How is Taiwan's independence from China guaranteed by TSMC? Or was that a tongue-in-cheek comment?
 
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