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    HomeNewsData Centers Predicted to Consume 9% of US Electricity by 2030

    Data Centers Predicted to Consume 9% of US Electricity by 2030

    According to the Electric Power Research Institute’s recent findings, data centers in the United States could consume as much as 9% of the nation’s total electricity by the end of the decade, which is a significant increase compared to today’s levels.

    Servers in a data center – illustrative photo. Image credit: imgix via Unsplash, free license

    This surge in energy usage is attributed to the substantial investments made by technology companies in expanding their computing facilities. The institute’s analysis indicates that the annual growth rate of electricity consumption by data centers could range from 3.7% to 15% through 2030, depending on factors such as the adoption rate of technologies like generative artificial intelligence (AI) and the energy efficiency measures implemented in new data centers.

    The escalating demand for electricity by data centers, coupled with the expansion of domestic manufacturing and the electrification of transportation, is driving growth in the US electricity industry after two decades of stagnant growth. These facilities use large amounts of power to support high-intensity computing operations and cooling systems. For instance, the electricity consumption of a single large data center is equivalent to that required to power 750,000 homes, while even relatively small data centers consume the equivalent electricity of 50,000 homes.

    The projected doubling of power consumption by data centers raises concerns about the strain it may place on the country’s electric grid, potentially resulting in higher electricity bills and increased risk of power outages.

    With the rapid adoption of generative AI applications, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which debuted in 2022, the energy demands of data centers are expected to escalate further. While initial estimates suggested that ChatGPT searches consumed roughly ten times more electricity than typical Google searches, the proliferation of generative AI for creating multimedia content like movies and music could exponentially increase power requirements.

    The Electric Power Research Institute emphasizes the importance of enhancing energy efficiency measures in data centers and investing in grid infrastructure to accommodate the growing power demands. The concentration of 80% of the 2023 US data center load in just 15 states, notably Virginia and Texas, signifies the need for strategic planning and resource allocation to address the rapidly changing energy consumption patterns.

    For comparison, in 2022, data centres in the European Union consumed an estimated 45–65 TWh of electricity, which corresponds to approximately 1.8–2.6% of the total regional electricity consumption. Interestingly, the top four data centre markets – Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland – accounted for nearly two-thirds of the entire region’s data centre energy use, despite representing less than 40% of the population.

    Written by Vytautas Valinskas

    We acknowledge The European Times for the information.



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