The IEA’s Digital Demand-Driven Electricity Networks (3DEN) Initiative and the Energy Efficiency Hub are bringing together speakers from the public and private sectors to discuss approaches to improving energy efficiency and curbing emission from data centres.
Demand for digital services is growing rapidly. Since 2010, the number of internet users worldwide has more than doubled, while global internet traffic has expanded 20-fold. Data centres and data transmission networks each account for 1.0-1.5% of global electricity use—and much more in some countries. While rapid improvements in efficiency have helped restrain electricity demand, lasting growth is expected, spurred in part by AI and other data-intensive uses. Data centres require uninterrupted power supplies, leading to investments in storage and backup power, all in the context of digitalising grids that require greater flexibility to absorb ever-larger shares of variable renewable power.
The implications are profound for government policy and industry strategy. Energy efficiency, renewables procurement and RD&D are essential to curb energy demand and emissions growth over the next decade. Speakers will discuss emerging practice and options for future action. The aim of the session is to reveal commons views on challenges, opportunities and the roles of industry and government.