A new report by Jonathan Koomey argues that data centers are using a lot less power than we thought. 1.1%-1.5% of global electricity use (1.7%-2.2% in the U.S.) is still an awful lot, but Koomey’s research suggests that global electricity consumption in data centers “only” increased by 56% in the five years to 2010, instead of doubling as predicted. As John Markoff notes in today’s New York Times, the recession’s downward pressure on demand combines with innovations in power management to explain the lower than predicted figure. GigaOM’s Katie Fehrenbacher has more, and links to a recent GigaOM post from Koomey which sparked some useful comments. Elsewhere, Dean Takahashi reports on a new research project involving AMD, HP, Clarkson University and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Project partners intend to explore the feasibility of powering containerised data center pods using wind or solar power. If successful, this work overcomes one serious hurdle to deploying data center pods off-grid. Now someone else just needs related projects to cool the box, and give it sufficient bandwidth.