High-tech has enjoyed a perception as an environmentally friendly industry due to its large presence in the virtual world. But while communications and content — whether made by mobile phone, iPad, computer, and increasingly sensors embedded in cars and appliances, to name a few — can have virtual addresses and travel virtual roads, the data is transmitted and stored in physical structures such as mobile towers, satellites and importantly, data centers.
These data centers require a lot of real-world energy to cool the servers and equipment that analyze, share and store data. Renewable energy is certainly a part of the energy mix data centers use, and high-tech companies are pushing for more renewable power sources. But similar to other industries, fossil fuels will remain the primary source of power for a long while.
If data is going to be the next oil, as it is often touted, it seems, it’s also going to have its own fossil fuel problems.
The issue for dat