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AI and crypto mining are driving up data centers’ energy use

A view of Meta’s data center in Clonee Co Meath, Ireland. Picture date: Tuesday June 13, 2023.  | Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images

Data centers could gobble up twice as much electricity by 2026 thanks in large part to cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

We rely on data centers to store all our emails, photos, cat videos, and everything else floating around in the cloud. More and more, data centers are cropping up to mine Bitcoin and train AI.

That’s already triggered backlash over the environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and AI tools like ChatGPT, since all those data centers are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions tied to their electricity use. The world will need a lot more renewable energy to clean up pollution from power grids and satiate skyrocketing electricity demand…

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