Apple reacts to Greenpeace over ‘dirty energy’ claims
Apple data centre in Maiden, North Carolina. Image courtesy of the Apple Facilities Report. See: www.apple.com/environment/reports
Apple has defended itself against Greenpeace claims that it uses “dirty energy” to power up its data centres and that its new data centre in Maiden, North Carolina would use 100 megawatts (MW) of power.
Apple has hit back, saying that the data centre will use one fifth of that estimate - at 20MW.
And now Greenpeace has issued a campaign protest via its site so people can send posts to chiefs Steve Ballmer at Microsoft, Jeff Bezos at Amazon and Tim Cook at Apple if they are concerned about how the three tech giants are approaching green IT.
Greenpeace issued its How Clean is Your Cloud report earlier this week. The report rated 14 global IT companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, HP and Twitter, on how much greenhouse gas emissions they are producing at their data centre operations.
Greenpeace activists also took to the roof of Apple's European base in Cork to stage a protest yesterday.
It was back in February that Apple announced its plan to build a 100-acre solar farm around its data centre in Maiden, North Carolina. In 2011, Apple commissioned the North Carolina data centre. At the time Apple said that the solar farm would be a 20-megawatt facility, supplying 42m kWh of clean, renewable energy annually.
This week Greenpeace slated Apple's claims in its report. Based on its data, it suggested that Apple would use 100MW of power at the facility.
"Apple has announced a 20MW solar array, and has also put a 5MW fuel cell device on site in Maiden, NC. While much has been made of this announcement, it will cover only 10% of their total generation for the data center," said Greenpeace in the report. (pdf).
"Our data centre in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity," an Apple spokeswoman said. "We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data centre ever built."
In its report Greenpeace was critical of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, claiming that they all scored badly for relying on "dirty energy" to power up their data centres.
Data centre investments in Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany
Greenpeace also gave a snapshot of countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, showing their data centre investments, their grid mixes and their expected renewable energy supplies by 2020. See the infographic below, taken from the report.
Clean up the dirtiest thing on the internet campaign
Now Greenpeace has issued a campaign called 'Clean up the dirtiest thing on the internet'.
On its site, Greenpeace issued the following: "Apple, Amazon and Microsoft all use asthma-inducing, climate destroying coal to power the "cloud" that stores your emails, photos, music and videos. Take action now & tell these companies to clean the cloud."
Greenpeace is calling on people to tell the companies directly by sending a post to the leaders of the three companies via its site.
Here's a copy of the message that those, who wish, can send to Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook via the Greenpeace:
Dear Mr. Ballmer, Mr. Bezos & Mr. Cook,
We need to talk Green IT. The coal-fired power plants that energize your giant data centers are one of the world's top sources of airborne carcinogens and greenhouse gases.
You've probably seen the Greenpeace International report confirming just how much coal is being burned to keep all those servers online. It casts quite a cloud over all that IT innovation, but the facts are easy to see: Our data is downright dirty.