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HANNOVER MESSE 2018, 23 - 27 April
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Integrated Energy

Future ICT energy needs are virtually unknown

The consequences of the growth of information and communication technologies on energy consumption are hardly predictable. The German Energy Agency (dena) sees a need for research.

03 Jan. 2018
Claudia Witte
HMI-ID12-069db
(Chart: dena)

In a meta-study , dena’s experts addressed ten international studies on the evolution of energy use in ICT and came up with some sobering conclusions: The only coherent consensus is that the new technologies will require more energy, especially in data centers.

But a holistic view, in which the savings potentials are taken into account, is missing. Smart metering systems, smart home applications, and energy-saving apps are already contributing to increased energy efficiency in businesses and private households. On the other hand, the energy hunger of compute-intensive technologies, such as the blockchain, considered holistically, could also result in an increased energy demand. Dena criticizes the lack of reliable data bases for such forecasts and calls for a quick closing of this research gap.

In fact, some technical innovations consume frighteningly much energy. For example, according to an estimate by Digiconomist , world-wide production of the digital currency Bitcoin consumes about the same amount of electricity as the entire country of Bulgaria, while a single Bitcoin transaction would use more energy than eight typical US households use throughout an entire day.

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