Image from Jonathan Lundqvist @ Flickr

At least that’s what the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently found when it assessed the power required to recharge a variety of popular electronic devices.

The Apple iPad, for example, consumes just 12 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year when fully recharged ever other day (which is unlikely, given its 10+ hour battery life).

Based on an average cost of 14.4p per kilowatt-hour for electricity in the UK, that means the iPad costs a mere £1.73 a year to recharge.

Laptops are obviously more power hungry when it comes to recharging, but a typical model that consumes 72 kilowatt each year has an annual recharge cost of £10.37.

Individual power consumption isn’t the issue here, though — it’s how much energy these devices these consumer en masse.

For example, the EPRI calculated that the number of iPads currently in use — 60 million have been sold since 2010, by some estimates — require around 580 gigawatt hours to recharge each year.

If the number of iPads in circulation triple over the next two years (which isn’t an unreasonable assumption, based on the sales so far), that means they consumer the equivalent of the output of two 250-megawatt power plants operating at a 50% capacity each year.