Global internet traffic surged by almost 40% between February and mid-April 2020, driven by growth in video streaming, video conferencing, online gaming, and social networking. This growth comes on top of rising demand for digital services over the past decade: since 2010, the number of internet users worldwide has doubled while global internet traffic has grown 12-fold. However, rapid improvements in energy efficiency have helped to limit energy demand growth from data centres and data transmission networks, which each accounted for around 1% of global electricity use in 2019. Strong government and industry efforts on energy efficiency, renewables procurement, and RD&D are necessary to limit growth in energy demand and emissions over the next decade.
The IEA had a number of recommendations which the CATALYST project support, these can be seen below:
1) Improve data collection and commit to efficiency and climate targets
2) Encourage energy efficiency and flexibility in data centre operations *Core CATALYST Principle
3) Use data centres as drivers for renewable energy use *Core CATALYST Principle
4) Enact policies for more efficient data transmission networks
5) Invest in RD&D for efficient next-generation computing and communications technologies *CATALYST Roadmap
You can read the rest of the report here