Electricity "Used by the Internet": A Cautionary Tale

Speaker(s): 
Date: 
April 13, 2000 - 12:00pm
Location: 
Bldg. 90
Seminar Host/Point of Contact: 

In the last few years, the Internet has grown into a substantial force in the U.S. economy. In 1999, Mark P. Mills published a report for the Greening Earth Society (summarized in an article in Forbes Magazine) that attempted to calculate the "Internet related" portion of electricity use. This report claimed that electricity use associated with the Internet totaled about 8 percent of all U.S. electricity use in 1998. This talk will describe an analysis of Mills' claims. Mills significantly overestimated electricity use, in some cases by more than an order of magnitude. After adjusting his estimates to reflect measured data and more accurate assumptions, Mills' overall estimate of total Internet-related electricity use must be reduced by about a factor of eight.   This talk will also describe ongoing work in this area and a new Network for analysts interested in the physical aspects of the information economy.   (For more details, see http://enduse.lbl.gov/Projects/InfoTech.html and http://n4e.lbl.gov).    A copy of the talk can be downloaded at http://enduse.lbl.gov/shareddata/internetdatatalk.ppt.

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