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I'm watching the first two seasons of Voyager and various episodes have commentary on having energy limitations -- but we constantly see crew using extremely complicated holodeck simulations. Why would they allow use of the holodeck if they need to conserve energy?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

The holodecks on Voyager run on an independent power source.

This can be seen in the season five episode Night, when main power is suppressed yet the holodeck continues to run. For whatever reason, this power source doesn't appear to require any significant amount of fuel:

SEVEN: Independent subsystems are operational. Environmental controls, holodecks. Reroute power from this holodeck to the emergency relays.

PARIS: Yes, ma'am. No luck. The hologrid is frozen.

In the episode Parallax, there was even a time when Janeway suggests trying to use the holodeck to provide additional power, which Kim shoots down as not possible due to a system incompatibility;

JANEWAY: What about alternative energy sources? Ensign Kim, have you had any luck getting power from the holodeck reactors?

KIM: Not yet. We tried hooking them to the power grid and we ended up blowing out half the relays. The holodeck's energy matrix, it just isn't compatible with the other power systems.

This is in opposition to the holodecks on Enterprise D, which were shut down when the ship was low on power (TNG:Booby Trap).

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@Richard Thanks for correcting my memory on the Parallax episode. –  Xantec Apr 27 at 22:21
    
I was tempted to add my own answer but yours covered all the bases... –  Richard Apr 27 at 22:23
    
I've accepted this answer but I'm still a little confused. Wouldn't the reactors need some sort of... supply or fuel? I would assume that the reactors would still need to generate the power from something since they had to go find that something in the early episodes. Wouldn't a shortage of that something mean you shouldn't start consuming all of it on alternative systems, independent or not? –  MrHen Apr 27 at 23:34
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Duh, once it's bootstrapped from ship's power it's run off holographic power from simulated plasma. Obviously that power isn't going to work well outside the holodeck. ;) –  Michael Apr 28 at 3:59
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@Kromey: I am sure there is non-holographic air in the holodecks that gets heat up by the holographic fire which then can travel through the door ;) –  PlasmaHH Apr 30 at 8:28

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