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Since the energy crisis and environmental protection are gaining increasing concerns in recent years, new research topics to devise technological solutions for energy conservation are being investigated in many scientific disciplines. Specifically, due to the rapid growth of energy consumption in ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), lot of attention is being devoted towards "green" ICT solutions. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey of the most relevant research activities for minimizing energy consumption in telecom networks, with a specific emphasis on those employing optical technologies. We investigate the energy-minimization opportunities enabled by optical technologies and classify the existing approaches over different network domains, namely core, metro, and access networks. A section is also devoted to describe energy-efficient solutions for some of today's important applications using optical network technology, e.g., grid computing and data centers. We provide an overview of the ongoing standardization efforts in this area. This work presents a comprehensive and timely survey on a growing field of research, as it covers most aspects of energy consumption in optical telecom networks. We aim at providing a comprehensive reference for the growing base of researchers who will work on energy efficiency of telecom networks in the upcoming years.