Nearly €60m spent on wasted electricity from device charging in 2013

3 Jul 2014

Consumers wasted the equivalent of almost €60m in 2013 by leaving devices plugged in overnight and charging their mobiles, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The report shows that the world’s 14bn electronic devices consumes an enormous amount of power due to the carelessness of the devices’ owners, and could potentially worsen if nothing is done as the number of devices grow, with the cost estimated to rise to €90m by 2020.

Entitled More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices, the report points out that while data centres have received much attention for their energy use, it’s rather the multitude of smaller devices that is the real problem.

In total in 2013, the world’s networked devices consumed around 616TWh of electricity, the majority of which was used in standby mode and of that total, around 400 TWh – equivalent to the electricity consumed annually by the United Kingdom and Norway combined – was wasted because of what they deem in-efficient technology.

According to their figures, that’s equivalent to shutting 200 standard 500MW coal-fired power plants, which would cut emissions by 600m metric tons of CO2.

Speaking of report, the IEA’s executive director Maria van der Hoeven said that there must be more efficient ways of being able to charge devices using technology: “The problem is not that these devices are often in standby mode, but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network.

“Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65pc less power.”

Sustainable energy image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic