Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Greenpeace says Apple, other Internet firms moving east to use cheaper coal-fired energy

Internet companies are moving eastward in a mass migration from Silicon Valley, and one environmental group claims they want to take advantage of cheaper energy prices provided by reliance on coal and nuclear power, reports James Glanz of The New York Times. According to the Greenpeace report, "How Clean is your Cloud?" Internet companies that "cloak themselves in an image of environmental awareness" want to take advantage of "dirty energy," Greenpeace's trem for nonrenewable types.

The report singles out Apple as leading the migration to cheaper energy, but the company disputed that, saying it plans to build two renewable-energy projects at its recently opened data center in Maiden, N.C. The project would offset the center's coal-fired and nuclear use, the company said. According to Duke Energy data, coal-fired energy supplies about half the power at Apple's data center. The company said the center consumes about 20 million watts at full capacity; Greenpeace claims it uses uses 100 million watts. Duke spokesman Tom Williams said the report failed to acknowledge the company's recent environmental improvements required by federal regulations. He said the company's emissions have reduced "substantially" over the last decade.

Greenpeace says other companies, including Google and Facebook, have shown more commitment to using renewables, creating a contrast that Glanz writes is "sure to generate debate in the hypercompetitive marketplace of the Internet." (Read more)

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