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In concrete terms, 5G alone could further increase the already rapidly growing electricity demand in data centers by up to 3.8 terawatt hours by 2025. That would be enough electricity to supply all the inhabitants of the cities of Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund for an entire year, reports energy provider E.ON , which commissioned the study from RWTH Aachen University. The reason for 5G’s hunger for electricity is, aside from private users, above all companies that are setting up their own campus networks. This requires the establishment of numerous small, local data centers, which act as intermediate stations to central units. The authors of the study see savings potential in a better use of waste heat: Up to now, only 19% of data centers use part of their waste heat, most of which is channeled into their own buildings for heating and hot water.

Otherwise, industry seems to have done most of its energy efficiency homework: According to the German Environment Agency (UBA) , consumption has been declining here in recent years, with transport even overtaking industry as the most consumption-intensive sector.