March 11, 2024

What is a Gigawatt?

A gigawatt (GW) is a power unit equivalent to one billion watts or 1,000 megawatts. Since the unit is so large, it’s often used to reference energy capacity over a period of time.

Real World Gigawatt Examples

  • The city of San Francisco consumes an average of 1 GW per day
  • It would take one million standard microwaves to be operating at the same time to reap 1 GW of power
  • The energy used to produce a large-scale event like the Super Bowl, including stadium lighting, broadcasting, and other associated activities, can peak to around 1 GW of power demand

Breaking Down a Gigawatt:

Watts60W Light BulbsHouseholds
1 GW1,000,000,00016,666,6671,000,000