Mark P. Mills, Executive Director for the National Center for Energy Analytics and TPPF Distinguished Senior Fellow, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on how modern technology and artificial intelligence (AI) create growing electricity demand and present challenges for the electric grid.

Highlights from his testimony can be found below:

“We are, as you said, Senator, at a rare pivot in history. We’re witnessing the emergence of a significant and ostensibly unanticipated new vector for electricity demand.”

“Utility planners and energy pundits have rediscovered a basic truth: the arrival of new ways to boost the economy illustrates a longstanding correlation, a kind of iron law, that links growth with rising energy use, especially electricity use.”

“Of course AI will become more energy-efficient. The latest AI chips are already a hundred-fold more energy efficient over the last half-dozen years, and they will get another hundred-fold more efficient by the year 2030. But efficiency won’t solve the so-called problem of rising electricity demands. It will do the opposite.”

“Operating at the computing efficiency as a 1980 computer, a single smartphone today, just one of them, would use as much electricity as a skyscraper. A single data center would use the entire grid. It’s because of electricity gains that the world has billions of smartphones and thousands of data centers.”

Mark P. Mills’ full testimony can be found here.