I read an interesting article today about the current power consumption of the worlds mobile networks. The number is quite staggering. According to the article, current mobile networks consume about 43 billion kilowatt hours of energy a year.
If one assumes 2.5 billion mobile users, that would be 1.4 kWh a month or 46 Watt hours a day or 2 Watt of average power per user. To set this into relation: My personal power consumption at home per month is about 200 kWh. Thus, depending on how you look at the 43 billion kWh the number is quite big or small.
Here’s another number from another source that says that German mobile networks currently use about 1 billion kWh per year. Divided by let’s say 70 million subscribers the numbers per user per month match quite well.
So how many power plants do you need for all networks worldwide? 43 billion kWh broken down to average power is 43 billion kWh / (365 days * 24h) roughly equals 5.000 Megawatts = 5 Gigawatts. That’s the energy which is produced by about three to four big nuclear power generators (source)