Internet infrastructure isn’t a waste of energy


A new report by The New York Times on the internet’s energy consumption estimates that data centers worldwide use 30 billion watts of electricity, including as much as 10 billion watts in the United States alone. According to McKinsey & Company, in a report commissioned by the Times, between 6 and 12 percent of that energy powers actual computations; the rest keeps servers running in case of a surge or crash. “This is an industry dirty secret,” an anonymous executive tells the Times; other sources quoted in the story call the growing energy needs of servers unsustainable, a “waste,” a result of building up servers beyond current demands by companies wanting “too many insurance policies” to avoid even a millisecond of downtime.

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