In his engrossing 2013 report The Cloud Begins with Coal (sponsored by the National Mining Association and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity), Mark Mills bludgeons us with one impressive description after another of the growing energy demand from the information infrastructure.
“Shortly, hourly Internet traffic will exceed the Internet’s annual traffic of the year 2000.”
“Global investment in the infrastructure of the digital economy is already over $5 trillion, and will grow another $3 trillion within a decade. Global Big Data capital spending is now in the same league as Big Oil. But while Big Oil produces energy, Big Data consumes energy, specifically electricity.”
“Manufacturers now produce each year ‘far more transistors than the world’s farmers grow grains of wheat or rice.’ ”
“If the cloud were a country, it would have the fifth largest electricity demand in the world.” (between India and Japan)