China’s Internet data power usage to surge through 2023

China is the world’s biggest energy consumer and producer of climate-warming greenhouse gas. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 September 2019

China’s Internet data power usage to surge through 2023

  • Soaring power consumption from Internet data centers is expected to result in higher carbon dioxide emissions from the China’s coal-fired power plants
  • The sector was responsible for around 99 million tons of CO2 last year

SHANGHAI: China’s burgeoning Internet data sector will increase its power consumption by two-thirds by 2023, putting further pressure on the country’s plans to curb smog and carbon emissions, according to a study published on Monday.
China, the world’s biggest energy consumer and producer of climate-warming greenhouse gas, is in the middle of a program aimed at upgrading its economy, easing its dependence on old polluting sectors like steel, and cleaning up its mostly coal-fired energy system.
Big data is set to play an increasing role in supplying cleaner electricity, especially in the creation of decentralized “smart grid” systems, but it is also becoming one of the biggest consumers of power in China and elsewhere.
According to the study by environmental group Greenpeace and the North China Electric Power University, soaring power consumption from Internet data centers is expected to result in higher carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the country’s coal-fired power plants.
The sector was responsible for around 99 million tons of CO2 last year, and extra efforts need to be made to encourage firms to source power from renewable sources to prevent that figure from spiralling higher, the study said.
“Power market reforms and rapid growth in wind and solar power have created unprecedented opportunities for China’s Internet giants to procure clean energy,” said Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Ye Ruiqi.
Power consumption from data centers reached 161 terawatt-hours (TWh) last year, 2.35% of China’s total, and it is set to rise to 267 TWh in the next five years, more than Australia’s total consumption from all sources in 2018, the study forecast.
The study said China was home to 2.7 million server racks, with the sector expanding at a rate of around 30% a year. The sector’s CO2 emissions could reach 163 million tons by the end of 2023, but that could be cut by 16 million tons if its renewable intake is increased from 23% to 30%.
“Twenty years from now, it is possible that data centers and big data will account for a third of power consumption, three times as much as electric vehicles,” said Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Innovation Officer of Schneider Electric, which works with big Internet and technology companies in the United States and China.
“It is going to consume a lot of electricity but that doesn’t mean it will be less sustainable — many of the players are thinking about how to innovate,” he said.


Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

Updated 22 February 2020

Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

  • G20 finance leaders to meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy
  • OPEC+ has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Friday as weak Asian data and a rise in new coronavirus cases fuelled uncertainty about the economic outlook while leading crude producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude was down $1.56, or 2.6 percent, at $57.75 in afternoon trade, while U.S. crude dropped $1.25, or 2.3 percent, to $52.63.

"With Brent failing to breach the $60 level on Thursday despite better than expected U.S. oil inventory data, rising market uncertainty is dragging down oil prices on Friday," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

"Market participants who benefited from the price rise in recent days might prefer not to go into the weekend with a long position."

 

China reports rise in coronavirus cases.

Japan factory activity shrinks at fastest pace since 2012.

Russia says early OPEC+ meeting no longer makes sense.

Finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy after new Asian economic and health data kept investors on guard.

Beijing reported an uptick in coronavirus cases on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases, doubling its infections. In Japan, meanwhile, more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus.

Factory activity in Japan registered its steepest contraction in seven years in February, hurt by fallout from the outbreak. 

"We still believe that the market is likely to trade lower from current levels, given the scale of the surplus over the first half of this year, and the need for the market to send a signal to OPEC+ that they must take further action at their meeting in early March," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood it would no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to meet before the planned gathering.

The group, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs.