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Data growth to double power demand of data-driven technology by 2030

New research from ING finds efficiency-increasing innovations are key in limiting the electricity needed for growing data flows.

Orange network cables

According to ING’s latest report, global data flows are expected to be more than 20 times those of 2018 and data-driven electricity use will double, accounting for 5% of the world’s electricity consumption, by 2030. Without efficiency gains the share of data in global power use would rise to more than 30%, having a serious impact on global emissions goals.

Without efficiency gains the share of data in global power use would rise to more than 30%, having a huge impact on global emissions goals.

To limit the growth in electricity use of data-driven technology, data centres and networks will need to find new, more efficient, operation models, as they have done in the past. In addition, to mitigate the environmental impact associated with increased data-driven electricity use, the industry will need to also use renewable electricity to enable data flows according to ING’s report.

ING attributes the rise in data use to the expected increase in internet availability, traffic per user, connected devices and cloud services – with cloud data increasing by twentyfold between 2018 and 2030. Data-driven electricity use is expected to double over that period. Because total worldwide power demand also rises, by 2030 data-driven power demand increases from 3% to 5% of worldwide electricity use.

Marten van Garderen, senior economist at ING, said: “A strong rise in electricity use seems inevitable, given the huge growth in data. One of the biggest issues ING sees is the knock-on effect that this additional use of electricity could have on our global carbon emissions footprint.”