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Time to face up to rising demand for power

Research from Schneider Electric has indicated that the demand generated by IT for power will increase significantly and actions to counter carbon dioxide rises need to be considered

Given its position as a power specialist, Schneider Electric is well positioned to investigate just how the IT world will change its energy needs in the future.

The firm has shared research about how technology will be powered in the future at a time when the channel is charting a rise in interest from customers in sustainability.

The Digital economy and climate impact report forecasts IT sector-related electricity demand to increase by almost 50% by 2030. But with efforts to decarbonise, the emissions should not rise by more than 26%.

Schneider is urging the industry to make sure it looks for products and solutions that take heed of energy, with the expected growth in edge computing another factor that could fuel increased power usage.

“When the world locked down, it also logged on and internet traffic soared,” said Pankaj Sharma, EVP, secure power at Schneider Electric. “It’s misleading to assume that digital activity will inevitably result in a deeply problematic increase in CO2 emissions. The analysis from the Schneider Electric Sustainability Institute puts to rest many of the worst-case scenario claims predicting IT-related electricity use will double every five years.

“As an industry, we must remain vigilant in finding new sources of sustainability gains while ensuring resiliency as digital keeps life moving forward.”

Schneider is encouraging more environmental monitoring and is practising what it preaches with capabilities added into its latest product line. It hopes others will follow its lead and take steps to make sure carbon emissions can be countered.

“We have embraced the mindset that future innovation will deliver better efficiency across the broader connectivity landscape,” said Sharma. “By making smart intentional choices, our industry can help mitigate how much electricity and emissions result from the rising appetite for digital technologies.”

Schneider’s latest research can be added to a growing list of vendor announcements and initiatives that highlight just how much sustainability matters.

Suppliers such as Microsoft and Dell have made public commitments to help the planet and there have been other initiatives from the likes of HPE and Konica Minolta to improve the sustainability of their products.

Last month, the issue came even closer to home with reseller giant Softcat revealing that it wants to implement a net-zero carbon supply chain by 2040. The firm is also the only FTSE 250 company that has committed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and received a five-star rating.

Impact of the pandemic

Lockdown forced many to turn to IT for work and pleasure and, as a result, to increased demand for power. The Schneider Electric research highlighted some of the changes that have occurred over the past 18 months:

  • Video-conferencing exploded, with Zoom saying its user base increased from 10 million in December 2019 to 200 million in March 2020.
  • About 1.2 billion students worldwide were kept away from their physical study spaces, and millions of remote workers stayed connected via platforms and applications.
  • Consumption of in-home digital media and video streaming by worldwide internet users increased significantly.

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