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Gluttonous Gadgets

New consumer electronic equipment is causing a spike in energy consumption

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that by 2030, new electronic gadgets will account for triple their current energy consumption, climbing to 1,700 terawatt-hours, the equivalent of today’s home electricity consumption of the United States and Japan combined. One terawatt equals 1 trillion watts.

The IEA estimates that the growth in the use of consumer electronics will require the equivalent of 200 new nuclear power plants just to power all the TVs, iPods, personal computers and other gadgets expected to be plugged in by 2030—when the global electric bill to power them is expected to rise to $200 billion a year. Most of the growth of demand for consumer electronics will occur in developing countries.