(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Mostly, we think of the Internet, the cloud and the explosion of mobile technology as things that save us energy: letting our fingers do the walking, avoiding unnecessary trips, being more precise when we do go looking for something, and buying online. And for the most part, that is the case. Those UPS trucks running up and down your street, even though they are bigger than anything you’re driving (I would hope), they are running a specific route that passes near your house anyway. That makes them more efficient than your going to the store is likely to be. But that is not to say all that convenience comes without a cost.
In 2013, US data centers used 91 billion kWh of electricity. That’s enough to power NYC twice over. That number is expected to grow by half again by 2020. It’s become enough of a concern, that electricity providers have warned that they might not be able to keep up with demand, causing some data center operators to seek their own dedicated power sources, including some, like Apple, Microsoft and Google to use solar or wind power for theirs.