Culture 2 min read

China's Data Centers Will Consume More Energy by 2023

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

A new study revealed that China’s data centers are set to increase their Internet data power consumption by two-thirds by 2023. To date, China is considered the largest consumer of energy in the world and the top producer of greenhouse gasses.

According to the study conducted by Greenpeace and the North China Electric Power University, if the trajectory of China’s energy consumption won’t change in the next four years, it would surpass Australia’s overall power consumption last year.

China’s data centers are on track to increase its data power consumption by 66 percent until 2023. The researchers estimated that the Asian nation would use over 250 terawatt-hours by that time, which means its greenhouse gas production from its coal-fired power plants will also increase.

Seventy-three percent of the electricity consumed by China’s data center industry last year was reportedly supplied by the country’s coal-operated power plants. The Greenpeace report also cited that almost 90 percent of the 44 data centers included in their study have “sourced power directly from the grid and have not yet taken active measures to procure renewable energy.”

Data Centers are Contributing More to Greenhouse Gas Production

Last year, the power consumption of Chinese data centers produced around 99 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Ye Ruiqi, Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner, said:

“Power market reforms and rapid growth in wind and solar power have created unprecedented opportunities for China’s internet giants to procure clean energy.”

To date, China’s data center sector is host to 2.7 million server racks. By the end of 2023, it is estimated that the sector’s CO2 emission could reach 163 million metric tons.

While China’s greenhouse gas emission is alarming, the Greenpeace and NCEPU researchers reported that it’s still possible to cut it by 16 million metric tons. That is if the country could increase its renewable intake by 23 to 30 percent.

Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Innovation Officer of Schneider Electric, noted:

“Twenty years from now, it is possible that data centers and big data will account for a third of power consumption, three times as much as electric vehicles. It is going to consume a lot of electricity but that doesn’t mean it will be less sustainable – many of the players are thinking about how to innovate.”

Read More: Study Identifies China As Major Source Of CFC Gases

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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