Keeping Emissions in Check During Unprecedented Internet Use
As I reflect on 2020 and the way in which the pandemic affected the business world, what stands out to me is the incredible increase in streaming content consumed on the internet. We've seen launches of some of the highest-profile streaming services to date between late 2019 and 2020. People are continuously streaming content and we need to consider the impact that increased viewership is having on the world. When you sit down to catch a movie or binge watch that latest series, do you consider the effect that streamed content has on the rest of the world? We will continue to see an uptick in carbon emissions from the power required to serve online content: servers, network hardware, and the energy needed to keep it all cool.
Even with the continued demand on the Akamai Intelligent Edge throughout the pandemic, we were able to keep our emissions in check and reduction goals on track. Over the past few years, Akamai's platform has grown to support the world's best and most secure digital experiences. In just a few short days at the start of the pandemic, all the world took to the internet at once, creating demand for content the likes of which we had never seen before. We saw what's normally a year's worth of traffic growth over the course of just one month. This increase in demand was gigantic, especially when it came to streaming content. As an environmentally conscious company, Akamai understands the impact that streaming has on the world. We understand that curbing carbon emissions is critical and that developing an efficient platform is a must, not just "something nice" to have.
Like most edge providers and cloud services companies, Akamai has a large presence in Virginia. Loudoun County, also known as "Data Center Alley," is home to more than 6.5 million square feet of data center space. A few months ahead of the pandemic peak, Akamai and several like-minded businesses helped lead the way on clean energy in Virginia, a significant player in the internet's ecosystem. This area accounts for where more than 70% of the worldwide internet traffic travels each day, making it the largest interconnection point globally for all web traffic, including streaming. On March 6, 2020, the landmark Virginia Clean Economy Act (VCEA) was made into law, putting the commonwealth and its Data Center Alley on a clear path to 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2045.
Akamai was proud to support this effort and humbled to be an underlying reason for its approval by legislators. Akamai had a clear focus on mitigating our carbon footprint in the commonwealth to support our customers' and their customers' access to what had become critical content to maintain society. Our talented engineering teams and countless field technicians on the ground across our facilities drove continued platform efficiency by developing innovative solutions to lessen our impact. Even with all these initiatives, we still had one problem to solve: how to reduce the emission output from the platform's power consumption.
Data centers consume a lot of power. That's a widely recognized fact. In addition to backing effective legislation, as a responsible corporate citizen, Akamai strives to do more. We continue to take a lead in educating others on how to reduce their emissions. In 2020, we promoted supplier education for providers through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance LESSEN Program. We also worked directly with our partners to provide details on the benefits of incorporating renewable energy within their sites.
So, the question remains: What else can a company like Akamai do on top of supporting legislative efforts, efficiency engineering, on-the-ground power savings implementation, and educational programming? It's simple: Invest in our own off-site renewable energy projects to support all of our operations. In partnership with sPower, Akamai is happy to announce that the Highlander Solar Energy Station in Northern Virginia is now online supporting 100% of our operations in the commonwealth. One of the most vital intersections of the world's data and a critical metropolitan area for Akamai is now running on 100% renewable energy. Akamai is proud to be a part of such meaningful change. By operating with 100% renewable energy in Virginia, we provide the peace of mind to our customers -- and to their customers -- that they are tapping into the world's best, most secure, and now green digital experience.