Energy is a BIG problem for Data Centers – the real “energy hogs” on the solar farm
Updated: Oct 10, 2020
This process (the website and blog) has been an eye-opener. I was happy and ignorant until one of these large-scale projects was proposed in my front yard.
I had no idea that Data Centers were such incredible energy hogs as read in Forbes. Power consumption by data centers appears to be a never-ending growth industry for electric utilities. In 2017, it was estimated that global Data Centers used about 416 terawatts of electricity (3% of all electric consumption). Back in 2013, U.S. data centers use more than 90 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, requiring roughly 34 giant (500-megawatt) coal-powered plants.
This consumption was expected to increase by over 50% by 2020, equating to over 50 giant 500-megawatt power plants. This would equate to about 156 square miles of solar panels (It takes about 4 acres of solar to produce 1 MW of electricity. There are 640 acres in 1 square mile. 4 acres x 500 MW x 50 plants / 640 acres.) This is the equivalent of almost 7 Manhattan Islands of solar panels just to power Data Centers in the U.S. (Manhattan is 22.82 square miles.)
It seems like it is time to put the Data Center hogs on a diet to curb rural industrial-scale solar projects and resulting habitat destruction.