Empowered states that 5G will increase energy demands and is not energy efficient.

Excerpts from Empowered

“The information and communications technology (ICT) sector is responsible for 2-3% of global emissions – a number that is expected to increase to 7% by 2030, driven in part by 5G adoption.”

“5G is projected to increase total network energy consumption by 150-170% by 2026, and a study by 451 Research found that 94% of polled telecom companies expected their energy costs to increase as a result of 5G rollouts.”

“We’re paying for the power, we’re paying for the higher power supply, and we’re paying to move the heat away into a giant block of aluminium serving as a heat sink,” says Earl McCune, a professor in the electronic circuits and architectures group at Delft Technological University (TU Delft) in the Netherlands.

So while it is true that the per bit energy use is lower in 5G, the higher number of bits moving through a 5G system still means 250% higher overall energy demand compared to 4G.

“The energy efficiency of 2G was 60%, meaning of every 10 watts consumed, six were used to transmit data. This efficiency rating dropped to 20% in 4G systems, and just 10% in 5G systems, meaning 9 watts are wasted for every one used to transmit data.”

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“This gets even worse for 5G networks running on 4G hardware and using millimeter-waves: these setups have just 1% energy efficiency, which is worse than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.”

The energy consumption issues of 5G are also detailed in the following reports:


Be sure to have (EHT link Lean ITC Report) 2 Page PDF of highlights


“The Cloud Begins with Coal – Big Data, Big Networks, Big Infrastructure, and Big Power. An overview of the electricity used by the global digital ecosystem.”Mark P. Mills, National Mining Association / American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, 2013

“The Power of Wireless Cloud”, The Center for Energy Efficient Telecommunications, 2013

United States Data Center Energy Usage Report”  Berkeley Laboratory, 2016

“Constantly Connected: B.C.’s obsession with personal electronics and how it’s shifting household electricity use” BC Hydro, 2018

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Data Center Efficiency Assessment” National Resources Defense Council, 2014

Al Kez, D., Foley, A. M., Laverty, D., Del Rio, D. F., & Sovacool, B. (2022). Exploring the sustainability challenges facing digitalization and internet data centers. Journal of Cleaner Production, 371, 133633.

Belkhir, L., & Elmeligi, A. (2018). Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations. Journal of Cleaner Production, 177, 448–463.

Corcoran, P., & Andrae, A. (2013). Emerging Trends in Electricity Consumption for Consumer ICT.

Ge, X., Yang, J., Gharavi, H., & Sun, Y. (2017). Energy Efficiency Challenges of 5G Small Cell Networks. IEEE Communications Magazine, 55.

Greenpeace & Ceprei Calibration & Testing Center. (2021). China 5G and Data Center Carbon Emissions Outlook 2035 (p. 6). GREENPEACE.

Li, C., Zhang, J., & Letaief, K. B. (2013). Energy efficiency analysis of small cell networks. 2013 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), 4404–4408.

Shehabi, A., Walker, B., & Masanet, E. (2014). The energy and greenhouse-gas implications of internet video streaming in the United States. Environmental Research Letters, 9(5), 054007.

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Sikdar, B. (2013). A study of the environmental impact of wired and wireless local area network access. IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, 59(1), 85–92.

Williams, L., Sovacool, B. K., & Foxon, T. J. (2022). The energy use implications of 5G: Reviewing whole network operational energy, embodied energy, and indirect effects (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. 4008530).

Zhang, X., & Wei, C. (2022). The economic and environmental impacts of information and communication technology: A state-of-the-art review and prospects. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 185, 106477.

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