Internet uses more than 10% of the world's electricity

electricity in blue sky

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     ISB   |   Culture     🕐 14. Mar. 2019

Around 10% of the world’s total electricity consumption is being used by the internet, according to a recent research report from Swedish KTH.

The numbers have grown from 8% in 2012, illustrating the increasing effects of the internet’s rapid growth.

The report goes into great detail examining energy-use in computers, tablets, smartphones, in production of said products, in networks, servers, data-centres and internet services as a whole, also noticing a shift in electricity consumption trends.

"There is a strong trend to push electricity consumption onto the network and data center infrastructure where energy costs are less transparent to consumers. Some challenges are identified for networking and data-center sectors. Of these the global roll-out of LTE (Long Term Evolution for mobile broadband) will be a crucial determinant of future electricity demand."

Best-case scenario sees a growth from 1 982 TWh (terawatt hours) per year, expected scenarios sees it go up to 2 547 TWh per year and worst-case scenario sees numbers go up by 3 422 TWh a year.

This equates to an expected 10% increase, with a worst case scenario of 13,5%. Whether or not the electricity consumption goes up by the former or latter estimation, this is still more than the world’s total energy production from renewable sources such as wind and solar, which provide only an expected increase of 2151 TWh per year.

However, this does not include hydro and nuclear -powers, which provide an increase of 4060 to 2636 TWh respectively.

Expected growth to electricity use thereby equates to the world’s entire hydropower supply, per year. No small increase in energy consumption just because of the internet.

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