Listen to the third episode in DCD's podcast series, Zero Downtime, to find out about the footprint of data centers.
In 2021 we regularly heard figures quoted suggesting that data centers and communications technology could use eight percent or even 20 percent of the world's electricity by 2030. To us, that seemed a high estimate, so we tracked down the original source, a 2015 paper by Anders Andrae. An academic currently working at Huawei's Swedish R&D center, Andrae feels the same way about those figures.
Since his original 2015 paper, he has revised his predictions down, but the old figures still often show up out of context.
More importantly, he has spent years looking at the benefits of IT as well as the energy cost. He talks of a "handprint" that counter-balances the environmental "footprint." Andrae says the Internet saves far more emissions than it consumes, by offering a digital alternative to physical services.
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We're working on future episodes now, lining up the best speakers we can. But if you have any suggestions, feedback, or just want to email someone, you can get in touch at [email protected]