• 18 NOV 14
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    G20 and CEET on the energy efficiency problem for the Internet of Things

    Just published by the G20 is the report, G20 ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTION PLAN VOLUNTARY COLLABORATION ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY, 16 NOVEMBER 2014. Of note in the report is the section titled Networked devices. It mentions here that the huge amount of power required, even when networked devices are not in use but in standby mode, is an emerging challenge considering the estimated 50 billion devices to be connected by the Internet of Things (IoT) (Excerpt below)

    Note that the report is only about energy usage when all these devices are on standby. What about when they are in use? Interesting to ponder what would be the overall energy drain from a planned global IoT?

    Relevant reading here is an earlier report titled: The Power of Wireless Cloud, from The Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET). Note that CEET is not some Green group but a partnership between Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs and University of Melbourne. Following the G20 extract are selected extracts from the CEET report.

    This all suggests that coming IoT is actually an energy monster that can only add to the problem of global warming. Not very Green but more of an ecological time bomb, to say the least….




    16 NOVEMBER 2014

    Networked devices

    Participating countries will work together to accelerate the development of new ways to improve the energy efficiency of networked devices. In 2015, this work will include consideration of options for goals for reducing the global standby mode energy consumption of networked devices.

    2.6 The problem: Networked devices are widely traded internationally. These devices include smart phones, computers, televisions, set top boxes, printers and other office equipment, and increasingly white goods, lighting equipment, kitchen appliances and heating and cooling products. International collaboration towards voluntary harmonisation of domestic product energy efficiency standards can reduce barriers to trade that arise from differing standards. This reduces compliance and regulatory burdens on industry and reduces product development costs. It can also facilitate pooling of resources in research and innovation. International collaboration around the energy efficiency of networked devices could be deepened, leading to more rapid realisation of benefits for all countries, including reductions in energy demand and peak load infrastructure requirements.

    2.7 The growing energy consumption of networked devices when they are not in use – but are in standby mode is an emerging challenge. Networks routinely “wake” such devices, leading to additional and often unnecessary power consumption. Many devices use as much energy in standby mode as they do when they are in use. With the global trend towards an “internet of things”, the IEA estimates that up to 50 billion devices may be connected to networks by 2020. Already, the annual standby power consumption of networked devices is estimated at over 600 TWh. This is greater than Canada’s total annual electricity consumption in 2011. By 2025, global standby power consumption is projected to nearly double. However, the IEA estimates that wider uptake of today’s best practice technologies could reduce this consumption by 65 per cent.

    2.8 G20’s approach: Participating countries will work with the IEA, to expand relevant research and information sharing, and to accelerate the development of product standards, particularly on technologies that would enable devices to power down and use less energy when in standby mode. This work could also include development of a policy framework to reduce energy consumption of networked devices when in standby mode. This could be achieved by intensifying international cooperation through interalia the IEA’s Energy Efficient End – use Equipment (4E) initiative and through the Super –
    efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and IPEEC. The United Kingdom will coordinate G20 work on networked products.

    2.9 In 2015, participating countries will consider options for goals for reducing the global standby mode energy consumption of networked devices.

    Link to the report:


    2. The Power of Wireless Cloud, The Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET)


    Cloud computing” consists of a computing system of high-end networks of distant server computers (data centres) which manage third-party services providing device–independent, reliable, continuous connectivity. By 2015, the energy used to run these data centres will be a “drop in the ocean” compared to the energy required to run the wireless networks used to access cloud services. [NOTE: This is an essential part of the IoT]….The energy use of cloud services accessed via wireless networks is expected to grow up to 460% between 2012 and 2015, the equivalent of 4.9 million new cars on the roads. The analysis shows that wireless access networks (Wi-Fi and 4G LTE) will be responsible for 90% of that energy. Data centres, the focus of recent high-profile Greenpeace research, account for only 9%….The problem is that we’re all accessing cloud services – things like webmail, social networking and virtual applications – over wireless networks. It’s the modern way, but wireless is an energy monster; it’s just inherently inefficient.

    Link to the CEET report: http://www.ceet.unimelb.edu.au/publications/downloads/ceet-white-paper-wireless-cloud.pdf

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