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In energy [electricity!] conservation, California sees the light
Progressive policy makes it a model in the fight against global warming

Steven Mufson, Washington Post via MSNBC
…today [California] uses less energy per capita than any other state in the country, defying the international image of American energy gluttony. Since 1974, California has held its per capita energy consumption essentially constant, while energy use per person for the United States overall has jumped 50 percent.

California has managed that feat through a mixture of mandates, regulations and high prices. The state has been able to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, keep utility companies happy and maintain economic growth. And in the wake of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on global warming, California serves as a model for other states seeking a similar path to energy reduction. Now California is pushing further in its effort to cut automobile pollution, spur use of solar energy and cap greenhouse gases.

“California really represents what the rest of the country could do if it paid a bit more attention to energy efficiency,” says Greg Kats, managing principal at Capital E, an energy and clean-technology advisory firm. “California is the best argument we have about how to very cost-effectively both reduce energy consumption and cut greenhouse gases. And they’ve made money doing it.” Kats estimates that the average Californian family spends about $800 a year less on energy than it would have without efficiency improvements over the past 20 years.

Today, as an energy consumer, California is more like thrifty Denmark than the rest of the energy-guzzling United States.
(17 Feb 2007)
UPDATE: Contributor Carl Etnier writes:

Unfortunately, the article’s author seems to be sloppily confusing “electricity” with “energy.” He says, “Since 1974, California has held its per capita energy consumption essentially constant, while energy use per person for the United States overall has jumped 50 percent.” I don’t have the source at my finger tips, but I recall reading that figure about electricity. And nothing I read in the article leads me to believe he is referring to any other form of energy. For example, has California’s per-capita gasoline consumption remained constant since 1974? I strongly doubt it.

Demand grows, but data centers don’t hog power
Net uses barely over 1 percent of U.S. electricity, study says

Benjamin Pimentel, SF Chronicle
Data centers are sucking up more electricity as more people and organizations log on to the Internet. But there’s been some disagreement over how power-hungry the servers running the nation’s network are.

Take the previously accepted belief — now dismissed as inaccurate — that the Internet and all the computer equipment in the nation requires 13 percent of total electricity use in the United States.

A study released Wednesday says that energy consumption at data centers is growing rapidly, doubling from 2000 to 2005, according to a report by Jonathan Koomey, a staff scientist of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a consulting professor at Stanford University.

But overall, the amount energy servers consume is only about 1.2 percent of the electricity used in the country, although the rate at which it has grown might still be cause for worry.

The study was commissioned by chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices partly in response to growing concern over corporate customers’ rising energy bills.
(15 Feb 2007)
Even 1.2 percent of overall electricity usage is still a huge amount. -BA

US servers now use more electricity than color TVs

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica
Anyone paying attention to recent technology headlines knows that buying servers is just one part of the total cost. It costs power to run them, and power to cool them, and power costs money. AMD has just sponsored a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist Jonathan Koomey that tries to answer the question: just how much power do US servers slurp down each year?

Koomey, who is also a consulting professor at Stanford, claims that his analysis is the most comprehensive to date and is based on the best available data from IDC. He concludes that in 2005, the total power consumption of US servers was 0.6 percent of overall US electricity consumption. When cooling equipment is added, that number doubles to 1.2 percent-the same amount used by color televisions.
(15 Feb 2007)

Internet claims role in fighting global warming

Air travel is the world’s fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide – 16,000 commercial jet aircraft generate more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 a year. In spite of more energy-efficient aircrafts, emissions from air travel have doubled since 1990. In industrialised countries, they typically make up 5-10% of the carbon footprint.

Commuters, especially those using cars to go to work, create peak-hour congestion in all of Europe’s major cities and contribute greatly to local air pollution and to global carbon-gas emissions.

In early 2006, a number of ICT companies including HP, Intel and Sun Microsystems set up the GeSIexternal EU ICT Sustainability Forum, in order to look into how the ICT sector can contribute to sustainability. At a Conference jointly organised by the Commission and the Forum entitled “Applying ICT-based solutions to energy efficiency challenges external “, industry actors and academics discussed the role that ICT can play in cutting down on greenhouse-gas emissions.

…The key elements of the road map are:

Travel replacement, using for example audio- and video-conferencing applications. ETNO and WWF have calculated that replacing 20% of business travels in the EU would result in CO2 reductions of some 22.35 million tonnes per year.

Emissions savings in the same order of magnitude, the two organisations say, could be achieved if more workers were given an opportunity to work at home, connecting to their office networks via the internet instead of commuting to work. Sustainable community and city planning and an openness to this on the part of employers and workers would be preconditional.
(16 Feb 2007)