Thursday, February 22, 2024

What country does Generative AI use as much power and water as?

Generative AI is the new bitcoin. Pundits used to compete for which country they could compare Bitcoin's power use with. Some nominated were: Greece, Ireland, * Netherlands, and New Zealand. I put a section on this in my Sustainable Computing course.

I tried asking Copilot:

"What country does Microsoft Copilot use as much power and water as?"

It replied:
"Microsoft Copilot, like all datacenters, consumes energy and water. Let's delve into the specifics:

1. **Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)**: This metric gauges how efficiently a datacenter utilizes energy. The closer the PUE number is to "1," the more efficient the energy use. Microsoft tracks PUE globally and across operating geographies. While newer datacenters and those operating at peak utilization tend to be more efficient, the goal is to get as close to "1" as feasible¹.

2. **Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE)**: WUE measures the efficiency of water consumption for humidification and cooling in datacenters. It's calculated by dividing the liters of water used by the total annual power needed to operate datacenter IT equipment (measured in kWh)¹.

Now, let's address your question. Microsoft's water consumption for its cloud data centers increased by **34%** in 2022, totaling **6.4 million cubic meters** of water. Generative AI workloads are partly responsible for this surge³. However, it's essential to note that this data pertains to Microsoft's overall operations, not specifically to Microsoft Copilot.

In summary, Microsoft's datacenters, including those supporting Copilot, have a significant environmental impact. However, pinpointing a specific country for comparison would require more detailed data. 🌐💧🔌

Source: Conversation with Bing, 22/02/2024
(1) How Microsoft measures datacenter water and energy use to improve Azure ....
(2) Microsoft's water consumption jumps 34 percent amid AI boom.
(3) Microsoft 365 admin center Microsoft 365 Copilot usage - Microsoft 365 ....
(4) Measuring usage, adoption, and the impact of Microsoft Copilot."

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