Debunking the High-Tech Energy Paradox
While Americans may worry about having to give up their beloved flat-screen TVs, computers and other high-tech devices in the home and workplace in an energy-constrained future, that is the reverse of what is likely to happen. That's according to a groundbreaking new study by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) of the little-understood energy-efficiency impact of semiconductors in the United States.
While the emergence and widespread adoption of advanced microchip devices and related technology systems have been identified as principal drivers of the growth in economic productivity, their energy efficiency benefits have received much less attention. This lack of recognition is likely due to what ACEEE refers to as "the high-tech energy paradox," whereby analysts and consumers tend to pay more attention to the energy-consuming characteristics of specific semiconductor-supported devices than to the broader, economy-wide, energy-saving aspects of microchips and other technology advances.
The ACEEE study, to be released May 13, will show how much of the United States' significant "energy intensity" achievements have resulted in large part from the explosive growth in technologies. The study shows that semiconductor enabled technologies already have eliminated the need for more than 100 coal-fired power plants and are poised to transform how Americans generate, transmit and use energy from 2010 to 2030, generating huge pocket book savings for consumers and businesses.