Renewable electricity use by the U.S. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector continues to witness rapid growth and uptake of ICT equipment and services at both the national and global levels. The electricity consumption associated with this expansion is substantial, although recent adoptions of cloud-computing services, co-location data centers, and other less energy-intensive equipment and operations have likely reduced the rate of growth in this sector. This paper seeks to fill those gaps by examining trends in renewable electricity use by the ICT industry. Our analysis examines renewable electricity use by 113 ICT companies in the United States using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership and the Carbon Disclosure Project Worldwide (CDP). The 113 ICT companies examined collectively consumed more than 59 million MWh of electricity in 2014, which represents 1.5% of the total U.S. electricity consumption. Of the 59 million MWh, 14% (8.3 million MWh) was sourced from voluntary renewable electricity. Companies are using a mix of power purchase agreements (PPAs), on-site generation, utility green power products, and renewable energy certificates (RECs).