How much energy does it take to power your smartphone addiction?The average iPhone uses more energy than a midsize refrigerator, says a new paper by Mark Mills, CEO of Digital Power Group, a tech investment advisory. A midsize refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating uses about 322 kW-h a year, while your iPhone uses about 361 kW-h if you stack up wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging.The paper, rather ominously titled "The Cloud Begins With Coal: Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power," details how the world's Information Communication Technology (ITC) ecosystem — which includes smartphones, those high-powered Bloomberg terminals on trading floors, and server farms that span the size of seven football fields — are taking up a larger and larger slice of the world's energy pie.The slice right now, according to Mills, is about 10 percent, or 1,500 terawatt hours of power. (For context, one terawatt hours is one trillion watt hours, and one watt terawatt hour can power about 90,000 homes.) Much of that energy is going to server farms, those giant clusters of computer servers that power "the cloud," as well as wireless networks. [...]
All added up, Mills calculates that it now takes more energy to stream a high-def movie than to manufacture and ship a DVD of the same film.
Read the rest here, especially the concerns about how much coal we're burning to fuel our device addiction and the need for cleaner fuel alternatives.