Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions of ICT network operators 2010-2015
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC. Ericsson Research, Ericsson AB.
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC. Telia Company AB.
2018 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This report is built on a large primary data set for operational energy consumption and carbon footprint, collected from telecom operators in different countries, and complemented by publicly available data from other operators. The purpose of the study is to estimate the current magnitude and trends for the electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions of telecom operators globally, and the primary data was collected with the support of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO).

In this report, the electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions of telecom operators are investigated, to calculate the ICT network (i.e. fixed and mobile telecom networks) operations´ share of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector impact globally,  historically (2010 and 2013) as well as currently (2015). The study covers the ICT networks, defined as fixed and mobile telcom networks, and related operator activities, but excludes enterprise networks, data centers and end-user equipment. The study draws from a similar study of ICT in Sweden 2015 [1] and uses measured and collected data. End-user equipment is outside the scope of this study.

Several other studies in the past predicted that the ICT sector, in particular the ICT networks, would increase its electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions in line with the growth in data traffic which was discussed in the previous study [1].

In the present study telecom operator data representing approximately 15% of the global fixed subscriptions, 40% of global mobile subscriptions and more than 35 countries in all regions except Oceania have been collected as input data. This represents a significant statistical foundation for further assessments and for extrapolation to the overall ICT networks. Approximately data for 10% of the global fixed and mobile subscriptions have been collected directly from operators, the remaining dataset is based on publicly reported data by some of the world’s largest telecom operators. 

The keyfindings of this study are:

  • The total annual operational electricity consumption of the overall ICT networks globally is estimated to 242 TWh for 2015 including both grid (215 TWh) and on-site generated electricity (27 TWh). The total corresponds to 1.15% of the total electricity grid supply.
  • The total annual operational carbon emissions of the ICT networks are estimated to 169 Mtonnes CO2e for 2015. This corresponds to 0.53% of the global carbon emissions related to energy (about 32 Gtonnes), or 0.34% of all carbon emissions (about 50 Gtonnes).
  • Between 2010 and 2015 the electricity consumption of the ICT networks grew by 31% from a level of 185 TWh which corresponded to 0.97% of the total electricity grid supply. During the same period the operational carbon emissions grew by 17%. This could be compared to the increase in number of subscriptions from 6.7B to 9.0B during the same period.
  • Per subscription, the average annual operational electricity consumption, including on-site generation, has decreased slightly from 27.6 kWh to 27 kWh per subscription between 2010 and 2015. For the operational carbon emissions, the emissions per user have reduced from 21,5 kg CO2e to 19 kg CO2e.  The annual emissions per subscriber of 19 kg CO2e corresponds to driving about 100 km on the highway including the fuel supply chain emissions.
  • Seen in the light of earlier estimates this study shows a result which is 24% lower than the operational carbon emissions estimated by the Smarter 2020 report for 2020.

The result shows an approximately linear increase trend in annual electricity consumption and operational carbon emission. The fixed and broadband part is almost unchanged over time, so the increase is mainly associated with the expansion of mobile networks. Still the data traffic increase is in magnitude many times higher compared to the electricity consumption and operational carbon emission increase and the impact per subscription is actually decreasing in most cases.

To understand the total ICT sector´s electricity consumption and operational carbon emissions, including all user equipment and the full life cycle, further studies are needed. However, this study brings a unique data set and insights regarding one of the key components – the operations of the network part of ICT.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, 2018. , p. 13
Series
TRITA-EECS-RP ; 2018:1
Keywords [en]
ICT, ICT sector, ICT networks, telecom operators, ICT network operations, energy, electricity, operational carbon emissions
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-221740ISBN: 978-91-7729-679-9 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-221740DiVA, id: diva2:1177210
Note

QC 20180125

Available from: 2018-01-24 Created: 2018-01-24 Last updated: 2018-08-06Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1089 kB)253 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1089 kBChecksum SHA-512
1a988a7564f579df201c4d5d65fba3ec3d0e27e084f6b7112ccfffb1934e9358778a8869b2fcc16cbec0e7cca77ad7e7862588d7669722f16f9fb7fe62c9fbb7
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Malmodin, JensLundén, Dag
By organisation
Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 253 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 2442 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf