In fact, not only is the Internet not an energy hog, it often saves energy through dematerialization and substitution.
Consider those movie videos you stream. You used to have to drive your car to Blockbuster to get them. Then you got DVDs in the mail. Now you get bits over the Internet. Sounds like progress. Heck, you may have noticed that transportation oil consumption in this country peaked years ago in part because Millennials weaned on the Internet and mobile devices aren’t buying cars and driving them as much as previous generations.
Still, everyone from Time magazine to Grist has run myth-filled articles about “The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy” or “Your iPhone uses more electricity than your fridge.” The primary source for these myths are “reports” that Mark Mills wrote for the coal industry, most recently “The Cloud Begins With Coal.”