If cloud were a country, its electricity demand would currently rank 5th in the world, which is ahead of India’s total electricity demand and this is expected to triple by 2020.
A recent report by Greenpeace slams big computing companies for using *dirty* energy to drive their cloud computing initiative.
As more people around the world use the cloud to store and share photos, videos, and documents, IT companies have to build more data centres –buildings so large they are often visible from space – that house thousands of computers and consume tremendous amounts of electricity. These cloud data centers consume a tremendous amount of electricity; some consume the equivalent of nearly 180,000 US homes or close to 1.8 million Indian homes.
Electronic devices and the rapidly growing cloud that supports our demand for greater online access are clearly a significant force in driving global energy demand. The report shares a few specific examples of how companies have used data center location to their advantage:
- Yahoo, US: Yahoo’s decision to locate in Lockport, New York, was connected to its ability to secure a substantial (15MW) allotment of hydroelectric power from New York Power Authority.
- Facebook, Sweden: Facebook built its third major owned and operated data center in Lulea, Sweden, a location chosen for the large amount of existing hydroelectric capacity at high availability. The data center can be fully powered with renewable energy
- An increasing number of cloud companies have begun to take charge of their electricity supply chain by signing long term contracts to buy renewable electricity from a specific source through a utility or renewable energy developer via a power purchase agreement (PPA) to help drive renewable electricity onto the grid.
Download the report (pdf) from here.