The Huge Energy Costs of the Cloud (Salon)

SONY DSCThe “ICT” — the world’s information communications, technology ecosystem, which includes the cloud, digital devices and wireless networks —  currently consumes almost 10 percent of the world’s electricity usage, according to a report by the Digital Power Group. “Streaming an hour of video per week…uses more electricity in a year than two new refrigerators,” Salon reports. Most of this electricity is derived from coal.

While there’s no doubt our Netflix habits require an enormous amount of electricity, there is some skepticism about the statistics cited by the Digital Power Group, which is sponsored by coal and mining industries. A

Time’s Bryan Walsh, who questioned DPG’s report, still gives this warning: “The point is that as our always-on digital economy grows more extensive — and it will — we need to be more aware of the energy demands that will follow.”

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