Bill Gates sees no problem in growth of energy consumption due to rise of AI

Bill Gates sees no problem in growth of energy consumption due to rise of AI

He said the increase would eventually be easily offset by “green energy premiums” that tech companies are willing to pay, boosting green energy.

At the Breakthrough Energy Summit in London, writes the Financial Times, Bill Gates defended the explosion in energy consumption by the tech sector due to growing AI activities. According to him, there is no need to worry about this.

Gates argues that the current booming AI developments, especially around Generative AI, mean that the tech sector is responsible for the sharp increase in energy consumption. This is because hyperscalers and AI giants are investing massively in new data centers. As a result, he said, data centers will soon account for between 2 percent and 6 percent of global energy consumption.

Microsoft recently announced that its carbon emissions from building new data centers have grown by one-third since 2020.

Green energy offsets

According to Bill Gates, however, the growth in energy consumption by data centers due to AI need not cause problems, as many fear. The Microsoft founder argues that these developments are causing tech companies to seek newer, greener methods of generating the energy they need, thus offsetting CO2 emissions.

According to him, they are more easily paying a “premium” or higher price for clean energy, Gates continues. This ensures that this demand will further drive renewable energy development and its use. He, therefore, calls on environmentalists and governments not to push this issue even further.

No guarantees

According to the Financial Times, a recent US Department of Energy study shows that AI will soon be most common workload in US data centers. Although large hyperscalers have signed many long-term wind and solar power contracts for this purpose, according to the researchers, this does not necessarily mean that using this energy will offset the growth in carbon emissions. Especially since these deals are not in line with local energy sources’ actual hour-by-hour energy demand.

Bill Gates commented at the event largely to a parish of his own. In addition to himself, investors in the investment company Breakthrough Energy include other “tech icons” such as Jeff Bezos, Masayoshi Son, and Jack Ma.

Breakthrough Energy’s business includes investing in companies and organizations focused on greatly reducing CO2 emissions in the agricultural, buildings, power plants, manufacturing and transportation sectors.

Also read: Carbon emissions Microsoft shoot up 30 percent