Green IT and electrical consumption

This morning, I read "Les TIC vertes" where Alain mentions that switching to IT based solutions for:
  • replacing paper based stuff
  • reducing the need for travel
  • moving to eCommerce
are all nice and good but that they are making the consumption of electricity go up. And that may not be all that green. I think that Alain is overlooking a big trend, which is the upcoming "Smart Grid", where a lot of production will go to individuals. For example, there are new products that use cogeneration, recovery of energy (in washing machines for example), and self-sufficiency. There is also the trend of devices being powered by the body of the wearer. Kind of the Swatch Kinetic on steroids. Will power the mobile phone, and the mobile phone is becoming the next big wave. The PC is locking you to a given place, whereas the mobile does not. So, this is one less problem. Also, Alain points out that cloud computing generates a lot of heat, uses a lot of energy. Yeah, sure but there are ways to leverage that. These are the places where improvements will be made because there is a huge financial incentive to turn lost heat into cost reductions. Remember that heat us just unused power blown off in the air. The less you have, the most efficient you are and the more your operating margin grows. Now that's a language that makes market sense. For example, I am myself on a project to move all of my IT stuff working on solar power. And use less energy hungry machines. But obviously there are limits to the current technology to make it efficient. And it will not work for everyone. Mastery of energy has always been what made a civilization thrive. Look at China, they are not going to cut down on energy use. Same for India, Brazil, and the like. We will see more nuclear power going on in the coming years, and that's a good thing, ecologists notwithstanding. Expecting reduction of energy consumption where the biggest part of the world's population wants to access it is nonsense. There will be growth. Insanely large growth. We must change our Western-centric view. The world is so much larger than that.