Key concepts: Internet energy consumption, growth rates,
carbon consumption, new economy

Attention Conservation Notice: It's lots of handwaving and back-of-the-envelope calculations about Internet energy consumption. Part 2 of 3.


From: Jonathan Koomey <>
Organization: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Subject: Electricity directly used by the Internet: New

"Dear Colleagues,

"There has a been much discussion recently about the electricity consumption associated with the Internet. Mark Mills claimed in an article in Forbes
( and in a supporting report (Mills 1999, at, that such electricity use currently accounts for about 8% of all electricity use in the U.S."

(((If the Greening Earth Society had just kept their mouths shut about this, instead of crazily boasting that the Internet guarantees full employment in coal mines, nobody would have raised the question. Now actual scientists are addressing this issue, and their answer must be rather disconcerting for the carbon lobby.)))

"We examined the assumptions behind Mills' calculations of current electricity use in detail. Even if one accepts the validity of calculating electricity consumption 'associated with the internet' in isolation, the estimates for direct electricity use in Mills' report are too large by a factor of eight.

"You can download our analysis and supporting documents at"

Jonathan G. Koomey, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist, End-use Forecasting Group
E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
1 Cyclotron Road, Building 90-4000
Berkeley, CA 94720,

(((Some highlights of the analysis follow.)))

"Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) examined the Forbes numbers(...). Large errors were found in every category, including the calculations for energy used by major dot-com companies, Web servers, Internet routers, telephone switches and the PCs used in both homes and business.

"Worse, the Forbes authors also have their basic energy facts wrong. They said a 'typical computer and its peripherals require about 1,000 watts of power.' In fact, the average PC and monitor use about 150 watts of power, which dips to 50 watts or less in sleep mode. New flat screens use about a quarter of the energy of traditional video display terminals with cathode ray tubes. Printers and peripherals are usually shared by multiple users, and don't increase this average very much. Laptops, a key growth segment, are particularly low energy users; newer models sometimes use less than 30 watts."

(((I don't have to be as charitable as scientists do, so let me bluntly declare that that Forbes article was planted from the get-go by Greening Earth Society. It's a pack of self-serving lies, intended to be cited again and again by anti-Kyoto Congressional aides in search of "facts." The authors and their sponsors are not merely "wrong," they are fanatical political operatives and they are deliberately obscurantist.)))

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