Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

‘The cloud’ is partially powered by coal – how can we make it more energy efficient?




A picture taken on September 17, 2013 in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, shows a room of cabling servers
A picture taken on September 17, 2013 in Saint-Denis, outside Paris, shows a room of cabling servers "clients" at the French branch of Digital Realty.
JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to story

09:31
Download this story 4.0MB

“The cloud,” an online form of computing that provides digital storage and streaming services, may be intangible, but its environmental footprint is not.

That’s because it’s backed by computer data centers, facilities filled with servers and powered by electricity. And while some of that electricity comes from renewable sources, a portion of it still comes from coal.

Data centers in the U.S. have risen in number, but their energy use is fairly steady, thanks to increased efficiency. The growth of data centers in China have also prompted efforts to make them more cost and energy efficient. And tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have taken steps reduce their energy consumption, both in terms of their data centers and their supply chain.

But carbon offsets, coal-generated electricity and lack of consistent renewable energy are all issues tech companies will have to deal with in order to make the cloud more “green,” according to Wired’s Klint Finley

What is the current state of data center energy consumption? What steps can tech companies take to mitigate climate change and make the internet more green in 2017?

Guest:

Katie Fehrenbacher, journalist with a focus on technology and energy, former senior writer at Fortune; she tweets @katiefehren