Author: Arianna Crosera
According to estimates of the European Commission (EC), energy consumption of the European Union’s data centres represents 2.7% of total electricity demand. With the pervasive development of ICTs such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) being brought forward, increased demand for data services – expected to rise by 28% in 2030 – represents a force to be reckoned with. In Europe as elsewhere, the need for digitalisation as a fundamental component for future economic and social development is conceived as a priority, but so are energy efficiency and environmental sustainability requirements. Following from these considerations and recent developments in European environmental and energy policy envisaged by the European Green Deal, this paper aims at addressing the question of whether these plans take into account the environmentally harmful downsides of new technologies – from the
energy to the raw materials they consume. Moreover, the analysis will illustrate how policy integration could be useful in conjugating the view of a sustainable future with increased energy demand prompt by emerging technologies. In this sense, additional focus will be put on the importance of integrating regulation of ICTs with mandatory sustainability standards.
data-centers, energy efficiency, European Green Deal, sustainability, digitalisation
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