The International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that the growth of IT could ruin attempts to halt global warming.
The organisation's Gadgets and Gigawatts report said that the energy consumed by information and communications technologies will double by 2022, and increase threefold to 1,700 Terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030.
"This increase up to 1,700 TWh is equivalent to the current combined total residential electricity consumption of the US and Japan," said IEA executive director Nobuo Tanaka.
"It would also cost households around the world $200bn [£132bn] in electricity bills, and require the addition of approximately 280 Gigawatts of new generating capacity between now and 2030."
Electronic devices in the home currently account for 15 per cent of all energy usage, according to the report, and is set to grow rapidly. Commercial electronics would also add a heavy burden to energy requirements.
However, this increase could be cut in half if manufacturers adopted technologies that already exist to cut power consumption. Tanaka cited mobile phone manufacturers as leading in this field.
"Many mobile devices are already far more efficient in their use of power than other devices which run off a mains electricity supply," he said.
"Because extending the battery life of a mobile device is a selling point, manufacturers place an emphasis on designing products which require very little power.
"This example shows us what can be achieved. Where no such commercial drivers exist, governments must step in to ensure that we make the most of every energy efficiency opportunity."
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