Data center electricity demand

Hi. I'm looking at the impact of a data center (NAICS 518210; IMPLAN 436). According to the commodity demand balance sheet for this industry (at the national level in 2019), spending on electricity is 0.7% of industry output, which seems wildly low to me. I haven't (yet) traced this back to the sourcing in the BEA IO tables, but do you have any thoughts as to why that value is so low, and how I might estimate a more reasonable one? Thanks.

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  • Official comment


    Our Data Team dug into this a little to ensure that we had the correct value. They confirmed the value in the raw BEA Benchmark data, which are from the raw BEA Benchmark IO USE spreadsheet. If you divide the electricity purchase from the total output and you'll get 1%. The value in IMPLAN is very close to this, just a bit lower because in the benchmark table it is a combined commodity that includes both the electricity and the transmission and distribution of said electricity. In IMPLAN, regular industries don't directly purchase electricity but rather the separate commodity that represents the transmission and distribution of electricity. Also, the new 2020 % is the same, as well as the previous 2007 benchmark.

    A couple potentially helpful ways to look at it:
    • That small purchase of electricity transmission & distribution is 21st largest out of the industries 215 commodity purchases, so it is in the top 10% of commodity purchase values for the industry.
    • Industry 436 is 175 out of 531 industries that purchase this commodity, putting it (barely) in the top 1/3 of industries that purchase it.
    • Also note that those absorption percentages are a percentage of OUTPUT, not a percentage of total Intermediate Inputs; when one divides the purchase amount by total II, the percentage does rise a bit (though is still low at about 1%).
    • So based on all this, it seems more reasonable, compared to just looking at the absorption %
    If you are still skeptical, we recommend reaching out to the BEA directly, since our numbers reflect theirs.

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