Man working at the computer, symbolizes Information and Communication Technology; Source: istockphoto.com/shironosov Enlarge

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The study entitled "Development of ICT-related electricity demand in Germany" commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which was published today, presents findings on the development until 2025 and shows where efficiency has increased and where there is still need for action.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel said: "The interplay of technological progress, consumer information and European standards has resulted in better electricity efficiency of devices. This is impressively reflected by the decline in electricity consumption of ICTs in Germany by around 15% in the last five years. We will counteract the expected rise in electricity consumption of telecommunications networks and computing centres until 2025 by means of smart instruments and increased efficiency."

In the period 2010 to 2015, annual energy demand of ICTs in Germany has fallen by 15%; this corresponds to 8 TWh. This downward trend will presumably continue until 2020, before a slight rise from 45 TWh to 46 TWh is expected in 2025.

The decline in electricity consumption is primarily due to the falling energy needs of ICTs in households and at the workplace, which will successively fall by slightly more than one third in the coming years, i.e. between 2015 and 2025. The main drivers are the technical optimisation of ICT end user devices such as TV sets and the broader use of energy-saving mobile products including smartphones, tablets and notebooks. Efficiency improvements have been fostered by means of consumer information and the setting of standards in the context of the European energy label and the Ecodesign Directive.

In contrast, the fields of telecommunications and computing centres are registering countervailing tendencies: even if the considerable improvement potentials are fully tapped, the ICT-related energy needs of computing centres and telecommunications networks will rise slightly in the period 2015-2025 from 18 TWh in 2015 to 25 TWh in 2025.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will evaluate the findings of the study elaborated by the Fraunhofer IZM and the Borderstep Institut and develop measures to provide incentives for maximum efficiency in the critical areas of telecommunications networks and computing centres, e.g. in the context of competitive tendering for energy efficiency.

The complete study and a summary of the major results can be found (in German) at: www.bmwi.bund.de/.