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Artificial Intelligence Requiring Unprecedented Power Consumption

The increased computing power required to run AI is resulting in huge increases in data center electricity use.    July 8, 2024

By Greg Zimmerman, Senior Contributing Editor

Artificial intelligence requires a lot of energy. That’s no secret. But what’s surprising is just how much computing power these AI systems require, and how energy demand is spiking faster than experts expected.  

The power consumed by data centers could represent up to 7.5 percent of all electricity by 2030, according to GovTech. This is an increase in data center power demand of as much as 160 percent, according to Goldman Sachs. Overall demand for power increase could increase as much as 20 percent by the end of the decade, according to CNBC, a demand increase not seen since the early days of the 21st century. 

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The increased power demand of AI has caused tech companies like Google to come up short on energy efficiency and climate goals. Google’s greenhouse gas emissions actually grew by 13 percent in 2023, according to the AP. Part of the reason for the increase in greenhouse gas emissions is that the increase in power demand is causing a natural gas boom, as well. But more tech companies are also contracting for nuclear power, as well. 

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine 


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