Greenpeace Gives Apple Poor Renewable Energy Scores for iCloud Data Center
April 18, 2012 10:01 AM
Greenpeace's score sheet
Apple defended its 20-megawatt North Carolina data center, saying 60 percent of its power comes from renewable energy
Independent environmental organization Greenpeace is in the midst of a disagreement with Apple after giving the tech giant and others like Amazon and Microsoft low Clean Energy Index scores.
Greenpeace recently released a report called "How Clean is Your Cloud?" which investigates the amount of renewable energy that technology companies used to power
data centers and the cloud
. Some notable companies that made the list include Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.
Many companies on the list received lower scores, including Apple. In fact, Apple had the highest percentage for coal dependency out of all the other tech giants at 55.1 percent. It also had a fairly low Clean Energy Index percentage of 15.3 percent compared to others on the list. As far as scores go, Apple received a "D" for energy transparency, an "F" for infrastructure siting, a "D" for energy efficiency and GHG mitigation, and a "D" for renewables and advocacy.
Apple didn't take this sitting down, of course. The gadget maker said the estimates were inaccurate, and supposedly told Greenpeace this back when Apple first saw the original report. Greenpeace said it published the numbers anyway as an attempt to make tech companies' dirty energy use transparent.
"Our data center in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 percent of that power on-site from renewable sources including
a solar farm
and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country," said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple. "We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data center ever built, and it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100 percent renewable energy."
Apple opened its
100-acre Maiden, North Carolina data center
last spring for iCloud and iTunes support. In previous reports, Apple has said that the 20-megawatt facility would generate about 42 million kWh of clean energy on an annual basis. Next to the data center will be Apple's fuel cell installation, which will be a 5-megawatt facility generating 40 million kWh of 24x7 baseload of renewable energy annually.
Despite Apple's efforts to counter the poor Clean Energy Index score, Greenpeace just wasn't buying it.
"While we welcome Apple's attempt today to provide more specific details on its North Carolina iData Center, it does not appear to have provided the full story, and is instead seeking to provide select pieces of information to make their dirty energy footprint seem smaller," said Greenpeace.
Apple wasn't the only company to complain about its poor score. Amazon reportedly disagreed with Greenpeace's estimates as well, which was a Clean Energy Index percentage of 13.5 percent and 33.9 percent of coal dependency. Amazon received terrible scores, consisting of a "F" for energy transparency, an "F" for infrastructure siting, a "D" for energy efficiency and GHG mitigation, and a "F" for renewables and advocacy.
Other notable mentions on the list include Facebook, with a 36.4 percent Clean Energy Index score, 39.4 percent coal usage, and grades of "D," "B," "B," and "C"; Google, with a 39.4 percent Clean Energy Index score, 28.7 percent coal dependency, and grades of "B," "C," "B," and "A," and Microsoft, with a 13.9 percent Clean Energy Index score, 39.3 percent coal usage, and grades of "C," "D," "C," and "C."
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads
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