Energy guzzling gadgets to triple resource demand by 2030

by Published Wed 13 May 2009 21:48, Last updated: 2009-05-14
Consumers need to make thriftier gadget choices, says report

Demand for energy-thirsty gadgets such as mobile phones, MP3 players, PCs and flat-screen TVs is undoing efficiency gains elsewhere, the International Energy Agency(IEA) warned today.

The Paris-based energy adviser to 28 developed countries urgently called on governments in a report to implement policies to make new electronic devices more energy-efficient and urged consumers to make thriftier choices.

The IEA warned that unless counter measures were taken now, the energy consumed by household electronic devices could triple by 2030.

Energy consumption is associated with carbon emissions because most electricity is generated from burning high-carbon fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

The IEA study finds that over the next seven months, the number of people using a personal computer will pass the one billion mark.

Electronic devices currently account for 15 percent of household electricity consumption but their share is rapidly rising. Already there are nearly 2 billion television sets in use, with an average of over 1.3 sets in each home having access to electricity.

Over half the global population subscribe to a mobile telephone service, and the number of external power supplies associated with many electronic devices now exceeds 5.5 billion.

Without new policies, the energy consumed by information and communications technologies as well as consumer electronics will double by 2022 and increase threefold by 2030 to 1 700 Terawatt hours (TWh).

This will jeopardise efforts to increase energy security and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. “This increase up to 1 700 TWh is equivalent to the current combined total residential electricity consumption of the United States and Japan”, said IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka. “It would also cost households around the world (US)$200 billion in electricity bills and require the addition of approximately 280 Gigawatts(GW) of new generating capacity between now and 2030”.

The IEA report "Gadgets and Gigawatts" discovered a considerable number of opportunities for savings.

Electricity consumption from residential information and communications technologies and consumer electronics devices could be cut by more than half through the use of the best available technology and processes which are currently available.

This would slow growth in consumption to less than 1 percent per annum through 2030. This level of energy saving represents a reduction to consumer energy bills by over $130 billion in 2030 and the avoidance of 260 GW in additional power generation capacity – more than the current electrical generating capacity of Japan.

“Many mobile devices are already far more efficient in their use of power than other devices which run off a main electricity supply,” explained Nobuo Tanaka. “Because extending the battery life of a mobile device is a selling point, manufacturers place an emphasis on designing products which require very little power. This example shows us what can be achieved.

“Where no such commercial drivers exist, governments must step in to ensure that we make the most of every energy efficiency opportunity.”

Some of these savings can be achieved through better equipment and components, but the largest improvement opportunity must come from making hardware and software work together more effectively to ensure that energy is only used when, and to the extent needed, according to the IEA.

To deliver these savings, strong public policies are needed. In particular, given that new devices increasingly offer a variety of functions, each of which may have differing energy needs, policies are needed that set maximum energy budgets for each function.

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Comments about Energy guzzling gadgets to triple resource demand by 2030

What are some of the power saving tips for using these gadgets?
GB, Mumbai, INDIA around 4 years, 7 months ago

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