More data, less energy

There is a rapidly rising energy demand from literally billions of devices that remain “on” but may be used for only a few minutes or hours per day. Currently, the estimate for global electricity wasted in this way by network‑enabled devices is 400 terawatt hours (TWh) per year. Consumers pay in direct energy costs for this power, while the energy sector is forced to find the means to generate enough power to keep pace with demand. Addressing this energy waste, through technology and policy solutions already available, could lead to energy savings that correspond to the annual electricity generated by 133 mid‑size coal‑fired power plants (500 megawatts each), each requiring 1.4 million tonnes of coal per year.