I came across an interesting article highlighting that the global power consumption of the data centers comprising the Internet consumed 1 percent of the world’s electricity in 2005. The growth in broadband and multimedia usage would put the 2008 number closer to 2-3% of the total by my estimation. According to McKinsey, the carbon footprint of the Internet will be larger than that of air travel by 2020.
The other focus of the article was how:
– Sun Microsystems is putting a data center in an abandoned coal mine to cut electricity costs in half of what the would be at ground level
– Microsoft is investigating putting data centers in the cold climate of Siberia
– Google is investigating the creation of “data barges” that would utilize wave energy and escape property taxes by being stationed seven miles offshore
It is good that big data center technology consumers like Microsoft and Google are looking into power conservation at the same time that hardware vendors like Sun and Intel are finally starting to pay at least a little attention to how much energy their components or solutions consume.
Now what we need is Google to combine the wave action power with solar panels on five sides and maybe a wind turbine or two on masts for good measure.
Or maybe burying them might be a bit easier…
What do you think?