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Internet Responsible For 2 Percent of Global Energy ­sage


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Credit: Denis Doyle / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Internet is responsible for 170 to 307 gigawatts of global energy consumption, according to the University of California, Berkeley's Justin Ma and the International Computer Science Institute's Barath Raghavan.

That amount is not as much as it sounds when compared with energy use across all sectors.

Worldwide energy consumption stands at 16 terawatts, and the Internet accounts for less than 2 percent of that total, according to the researchers. To come up with the total, Ma and Raghavan used previously published research to conduct a rough Internet census. They estimate that there are 750 million laptops, 1 billion smartphones, and 100 million servers. They also estimate the energy that it costs to manufacture each of these devices and the period each is used before being replaced.

The figure also includes an estimate of the energy that cell towers and optical switches use when transmitting Internet traffic, and similar calculations for Wi-Fi transmitters and cloud storage devices.

From New Scientist
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