Say I wanted to start a business that relies heavily on electricity (though not induction-heavy electricity, like welding or the like would produce, standard electricity used used by computers). A target location would be somewhere in USA or Canada. I can find some data on average cost of electricity in some bigger cities, but most of the data is spread across multiple websites, so they are hard to compare. Moreover, I can't seem to find any data whether those prices vary depending on the location in that given city (say, putting the business right next to a hydro dam or a wind farm could potentially lower the costs).
Where could I find some good resources on where to set up such a business to lower electricity costs?
Find areas hit hard by the recession, contact the local power generation company and discuss negotiating flat rates for fixed durations.
If you go simply by what today's rates are, that won't provide any guarantee that the cheapest power TODAY will still be the cheapest power TOMORROW.
I can't see why this would ever be a legitimate concern for a startup.
There are far more important considerations that should influence where you locate your business. Electricity is a rather cheap commodity compared to leasing an office, paying employees, and lots of other more significant expenses that vary by location.
If electricity bills really are a significant part of your business's costs, then you should probably consider generating your own electricity through solar panels or wind turbines. Otherwise you'll be at the mercy of the supplies, who usually maintain local monopolies.
But again, electricity should be relatively cheap wherever you go, compared to the cost of renting space and hiring employees.
How many megawatts do you need? Have you tried looking at the US electricity spot market ? If your business is so sensitive to energy prices check out the spot market or contact energy brokers/resellers.
You may also want to check out a community that is serviced by municipal power.