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Challenges 2015, 6(1), 117-157; doi:10.3390/challe6010117

On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology: Trends to 2030

Huawei Technologies Sweden AB, Skalholtsgatan 9, 16494 Kista, Sweden
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andreas Manz
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
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Abstract

This work presents an estimation of the global electricity usage that can be ascribed to Communication Technology (CT) between 2010 and 2030. The scope is three scenarios for use and production of consumer devices, communication networks and data centers. Three different scenarios, best, expected, and worst, are set up, which include annual numbers of sold devices, data traffic and electricity intensities/efficiencies. The most significant trend, regardless of scenario, is that the proportion of use-stage electricity by consumer devices will decrease and will be transferred to the networks and data centers. Still, it seems like wireless access networks will not be the main driver for electricity use. The analysis shows that for the worst-case scenario, CT could use as much as 51% of global electricity in 2030. This will happen if not enough improvement in electricity efficiency of wireless access networks and fixed access networks/data centers is possible. However, until 2030, globally-generated renewable electricity is likely to exceed the electricity demand of all networks and data centers. Nevertheless, the present investigation suggests, for the worst-case scenario, that CT electricity usage could contribute up to 23% of the globally released greenhouse gas emissions in 2030. View Full-Text
Keywords: communication networks; consumer devices; data centers; data traffic; electricity usage; electricity efficiency; electricity intensity; greenhouse gases; voice traffic communication networks; consumer devices; data centers; data traffic; electricity usage; electricity efficiency; electricity intensity; greenhouse gases; voice traffic
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Andrae, A.S.G.; Edler, T. On Global Electricity Usage of Communication Technology: Trends to 2030. Challenges 2015, 6, 117-157.

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