Energy use by United States data centers is significantly below predictions so far this year, according to new research out of Stanford University, in conjunction with the New York Times.
According to the study, growth in data center electricity consumption has slowed significantly between 2005 and 2010. The report notes that energy used by data centers in the United States increased by 36 percent. In contrast, from 2000 to 2005, energy use actually doubled.
In a 2007 report to the United States Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency predicted that United States data center energy use would actually double once again from 2005 to 2010. This new report contradicts that prediction.
Worldwide, however, energy use by data centers, which had doubled from 2000 to 2005, rose by approximately 56 percent from 2005 to 2010.The report notes that the slower growth of energy usage here in the United States, among data centers, was due, in part, to fewer servers being installed than had been predicted by the Environmental Protection Agency in its 2007 report. The decrease in server installation has been linked to the global recession as well as new energy-efficient technologies like server virtualization.
For 2010, the electricity used by global data centers accounted for between 1.1 and 1.5 percent of the world's total electricity use. In the United States, data center electricity use accounted for between 1.7 and 2.2 percent.
Based on company figures, Google accounts for less than one percent of the world's data center energy consumption.
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