Substantial growth in data use – our challenge

In recent years the energy consumed by telecom companies has increased as a result of the substantial growth in data use. Customers are also consuming more electricity due to the increase in the number of smartphones and tablets.

If this rise continues, energy consumption in the Netherlands that is related to ICT (including telecommunications) will be around 100 times greater in 2030 (pdf) compared with 2008 (pdf). The expected increase in the demand for energy not only has consequences for energy prices, but also, much more importantly, for climate change.

It is estimated that 2% of global CO2 emissions can be attributed to the ICT sector. However, the same ICT sector can cut CO2 emissions by 15% by making smart use of

mobile technology to create efficient networks and meters, as well as buildings and transport systems that consume virtually zero energy.

The European Union has outlined various initiatives designed to improve the energy efficiency of the ICT sector and increase the potential energy savings that it can make. These include, for example, imposing standards and linking the ICT sector to the energy sector to ensure that optimum use is made of new technologies (smart grids) for dealing with the increasing unpredictability of the electricity supply.