Internet consumes more energy than India

Posted on April 24, 2011 by

Even as you read this, the data centre, that powers the internet and has brought this data for your reading, is a heavy big energy guzzler. Accordingly to a study conducted by Greenpeace, the environmental NGO, the data centres run by companies including Google, Akamai, Yahoo and Apple consumed 662 billion units (kWh), 16% more than entire India!Greenpeace’s report “How Dirty Is Your Data” states that if the internet had been a country, it would have been the fifth largest polluting nation. The report says

“Server farms are expanding and multiplying rapidly. In our technologically interconnected world, data centres are the factories of the 21st Century. The technologies of the 21st century are still largely powered by the dirty coal power of the past, with over half of the companies (studied for the report) relying on coal for between 50% and 80% of their energy needs.”

Though many IT companies are aware of the signifiance of energy efficiency and take measures to be energy efficient, the inclination towards clean energy is not prevalent. Many data centres and IT-related infrastructures are powered by energy from coal or other fossil fuels.

The report takes a note of India’s “mobile revolution” and the fact that more than 100,000 telecom towers in India’s rural and semi-urban areas are powered by diesel generators in the absence of reliable grid power, making it a heavy source of air and carbon pollution. Telecom sector consumes two billion litres of diesel annually, which is second only to the railways in India.

Among Indian IT companies, the Greenpeace report praises Wipro for demonstrating greater transparency on its energy consumption.

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Posted in: Sustainability