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Clean Clicks or Dirty Chips?

Clean Clicks or Dirty Chips?

Full Title: Clean Clicks or Dirty Chips?: Despite Commitments to 100% Renewable Energy, U.S. Semiconductor Expansion Driving Demand for Dirty Energy
Author(s): Gary Cook
Publication Date: February 19, 2024
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

Semiconductors have spread into seemingly every corner of daily life in the Western world today, from smartphones, appliances and automobiles, to the rapid rise of AI tools and platforms. Growing concerns over semiconductor supply chain security in combination with the passage of the $53 billion US CHIPS & Science Act has triggered a wave of major new semiconductor manufacturing investments in the US. Not surprisingly, some of the largest plans
for expansion come from the largest semiconductor manufacturers, with megafactories by the top four manufacturers already under construction across in several U.S. states, including Intel (Arizona, Ohio, Oregon), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (Arizona) Micron (New York, Idaho) and Samsung Electronics (Texas).

The shift of semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. should present a unique opportunity for the IT sector to transition a critical piece of its supply chain to renewable energy, and for semiconductor manufacturers and their host communities to secure a long term competitive advantage in a world that is racing to move beyond fossil fuels. However, without a significant reorientation by Intel, TSMC, Samsung and other major semiconductor manufacturers of their 100% renewable energy and Net Zero commitments away from the current reliance on unbundled RECs and towards high impact renewable energy procurement, the rapid expansion of semiconductor fabs in the United States will actually increase the sector’s fossil fuel demand, pollution and human health impacts, and trigger further investment in fossil based electricity production, taking us away from the zero emission electricity grid that the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said is needed no later than 2035 in advanced countries in order to keep us on track for the net zero goal by 2050 called for under the Paris Climate Agreement.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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