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Operators fail to break energy addiction in 2022

This brief examines energy consumption in the network operator industry, spanning telcos, webscalers, and carrier-neutral operators (CNNOs). The report assesses energy consumption trends alongside revenues and other metrics, and highlights energy efficiency tactics being implemented by key operators. The analysis is based on a bottoms-up review of sustainability-related data and reports from 101 operators, accounting for nearly 90% of the entire industry of network operators: 17 webscalers, 29 carrier-neutral operators (CNNOs), and 55 telecom operators (telcos). Coverage timeframe is 2019-22. Energy consumption is defined to include both electricity and fuels such as diesel and natural gas.

For 2022, we estimate that network operators consumed the equivalent of 543.6 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy, up 7% YoY; 88% of total energy consumed was derived from electricity. The 7% annual growth in 2022 is a bit slower than the 9% growth achieved in both 2020 and 2021. Webscale energy consumption grew the fastest in 2022, up 16% YoY, pushing up the sector’s share of total energy consumption by network operators to 25.1%. Telco energy consumption...

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Matt Walker
Chief Analyst
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