Data Center Energy Consumption

by Briton Lee

Data centers in the United States are using an increasing amount of energy, needing 34 full power plants (capable of producing 500 megawatts of energy each) to power them all (Thibodeau 2014). In 2013, data centers used a total of 91 billion kilowatt-hours, and they are projected to hit 139 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, a 53% increase (ibid). These data centers alone are contributing to an emission of 97 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and account for over 2% of the energy used nationwide (Hamilton 2013, Fehrenbacher 2014). Continue reading

A Convenient Partnership Between Carbon Capture and Wind Energy

by Tim Storer

Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) technologies help to reduce emissions from fossil fuel energy operations, such as coal fired power plants. While these technologies have the benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making the operations more climate friendly, they are costly for extraction companies. Wind power has the benefit of low emissions, but is dependent on weather and fails to provide a stable energy supply. This paper identifies a way to reduce the cost of CCS, which involves partnering with wind powered energy. Bandyopadhyay and Patiño-Escheverri (2014) find that this partnership can make CCS vastly cheaper for the producers and the partnership would also create additional incentives for developing renewable energy sources in the form of wind power. Through the partnership, power providers will have the flexibility to direct power to multiple uses depending on price fluctuations, thus minimizing profit loss from incorporating CCS. Continue reading