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AMD Study Reveals Shifting Patterns In Worldwide Datacenter Energy Use

Based on current growth trends, the U.S. share of total world server electricity use from datacenters will likely decline from 40 percent in 2000 to about one-third by 2010, while the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) will increase its share from 10 percent to about 16 percent over that period, according to research conducted by Jonathan Koomey, Ph.D. and released by AMD (PDF). The absolute electricity consumption for servers in the Asia/Pacific region under this scenario would more than double from 2005 to 2010, requiring electricity capacity equal to output from two new 1000 MW power plants. For the entire world, server consumption from 2005 to 2010 would require additional capacity equal to more than 10 additional 1000 MW power plants.

The report shows that electricity used by servers in the U.S. and Europe currently comprise about two thirds of the world’s total, with Japan, Asia/Pacific and the rest of the world each falling at between 10 and 15 percent of the total.

Examining electricity use by region from 2000 to 2005, the study found that server electricity use in the Asia/Pacific region (excluding Japan) grew at a 23 percent annual rate, compared to a world average of 16 percent a year, making this region the only one with server electricity use growing at a rate significantly greater than the world average. The Western European growth rate of 17 percent was slightly above the world average, while growth rates in the other regions were lower than the world average.

Datacenters throughout the world are designed and operated in similar ways to those in the U.S. Accordingly, if the 20 percent savings estimated in the EPA report are applied to Dr. Koomey’s projections for global datacenter electricity use in 2010, total savings would equal approximately five 1000 MW power plants. In other words, relatively modest changes in the way datacenters are designed and operated could offset approximately half the expected growth in global datacenter electricity use in 2010.

AMD says that this new research adds detail to an AMD-sponsored study published in February that identified the worldwide costs associated with datacenter energy use.

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