While global energy consumption is high and rising, conventional fuel sources are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. Further, emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels have been linked to global climate change and, within a rising number of countries, are subject to regulation. Consequently, governments, businesses and consumers around the world are seeking products and services to improve energy efficiency.
World marketed energy consumption was 462 quadrillion Btu in 2005. Going forward, global energy consumption is forecast to increase 19% between 2005 and 2015 to 551 quadrillion Btu. Conventional fuels such as oil and other liquid petroleum products, natural gas and coal are the world’s leading sources of energy.
Together, these sources are expected to account for approximately 85% of the world’s energy in 2010. Even considering the technological advancements and increasing penetration of renewable energy sources, the share of world energy supplied by conventional fuels is expected to remain flat to 2015. As fossil fuels, these resources are finite and current projections indicate that they will be depleted within a relatively short timeframe. Further, use of these fuels results in greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to global climate change. Together with the fact that power generation using these sources is becoming increasingly expensive, current energy use patterns are unsustainable.
Products and services provided by the information and communications technology (ICT) sector enable energy efficiency and emissions reductions. ICTs can be employed to capture, analyze and respond to vast amounts of data which can lead to optimized energy use within large, energy-reliant sectors such as power, industry and logistics. Additionally, the adoption of ICT products and technologies can reduce energy consumption across sectors by enabling smart buildings, dematerialization and travel substitution. Meanwhile, various innovations and trends occurring within the ICT sector are expected to reduce the energy consumption of ICT products themselves.
The continued development and adoption of more efficient PCs and peripherals, data center servers and cooling technologies, telecommunications devices and infrastructure is expected to improve energy efficiency of products produced within the ICT sector. Globally, these improvements are projected to reduce the in-use energy consumption of ICT products by 895 billion kWh in 2015.
While substantial, the magnitude of these savings is dwarfed by the impact that the use of these enabling ICTs are projected to have across other sectors of human enterprise. The global energy savings enabled by ICTs in the power, industrial, and logistics sectors as well as through the cross-sectoral impact of enabling energy efficient buildings, travel substitution and dematerialization are estimated to exceed 6,463 billion kWh in 2015.
The overall global energy savings due to the improved energy efficiency of ICT products themselves as well as the efficiency enabling impact of these products across other energy intensive sectors and activities is therefore projected to grow from 2,618 billion kWh in 2010, to 7,358 billion kWh in 2015. These energy savings equate to 4.5% of projected global energy consumption in 2015.
Along with the reduction in global energy consumption, ICT products are also expected to enable significant reductions in global emissions. The global emissions reductions enabled by energy-smart ICT solutions are projected to grow from 1,393 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010 to 3,892 million tonnes in 2015. This reflects an 8.7% reduction in projected total global carbon emissions at that time.