iPad charging is a bargain

June 25, 2012
You'll probably pay more for one morning coffee at the corner coffee shop than for charging an iPad for a year.

If you charge up your iPad tablet every other day, you can expect to pay about $1.36 annually for the electricity needed, says a new assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The analysis shows that each model of the iPad consumes less than 12 kWh of electricity over the course of a year, if charged fully every other day. By comparison, a plasma 42-in. TV consumes 358 kWh of electricity a year.

(On the other hand, we've never heard of a 42-in. iPad.)

EPRI conducted the analysis in Knoxville, Tenn., at its power utilization laboratory. And of course, costs may vary depending on region and the price of electricity there.

EPRI undertook the assessment to determine the iPad's load requirements. EPRI calculations show the average energy used by all iPads sold to date is approximately 590 GWh. In a scenario where the number of iPads tripled over the next two years from 67 million to over 200 million, the energy required would be nearly equivalent to two 250-MW power plants operating at a 50% utilization rate. A quadrupling of sales in two years would require energy generated by three 250-MW plants.

Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI, points out that changes in battery technology and technology features will affect energy requirements. “Our measurements indicate new iPads will consume about 65% more electricity per year. What remains to be seen is how better batteries, better features and changing preferences will affect overall energy consumption by consumers as a whole.”

The EPRI analysis shows the Apple iPhone 3G consumes 2.2 kWh of electricity annually, which results in a power cost of $0.25 annually. Other products that were included in the analysis were laptop PCs, which consume 72.3 kWh of electricity annually and cost consumers $8.31, and 60-W CFL light bulbs which consume approximately 14 kWh of electricity and each cost consumers $1.61 a year.

The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.: www.epri.com

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