Despite Apple’s (News - Alert) plans to use greener forms of data center power, there are still critics out there saying the need for power outweighs the level of effort being made to find the energy from renewable sources.
According to a recent DatacenterDynamics report, Apple’s data center plans to construct a 500,000 square-foot data center in North Carolina created some headlines when the company earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S Green Building Council.
The venture would make Apple’s data center the largest of its kind using data center power created by green energy, including a 100-acre, 20-megawatt solar farm, a biogas fuel cell, and other efficiencies planned for the building’s construction.
An IT policy analyst from Greenpeace recently criticized Apple’s North Carolina data center and its data center in Oregon, which will also employ a solar farm for its data center power. And while kudos were offered for its focus on renewable energy, the analyst said in a blog that Greenpeace’s calculation of Apple’s data center power usage of green energy was less than what Apple had proposed.
Greenpeace also suggests the company should take measures to force the hand of utility companies in providing more options for renewable energy production.
In North Carolina, an estimated 90 percent of the energy used in the state is generated through “dirty” energy practices, including coal-fired power plants. Energy derived from these energy practices helps Greenpeace rate companies and their efforts on creating a more renewable energy-friendly world. Apple is not alone in Greepeace’s condemnation of data center power sources; Twitter also gets an “F” rating in its carbon emissions report card from Greenpeace.
Last year, Facebook (News - Alert) announced that it would collaborate with Greenpeace on initiatives to up the production of clean energy and rely less on coal-fired power plants for its energy consumption. Greenpeace has set its sights on Apple now that it has plans to construct a huge data center in Oregon. Greenpeace estimates that the center will require 100 mega watts of power when it is running at peak performance, which is the equivalent of around 80,000 homes.
Apple’s iCloud service, which has grown tremendously since going from a paid to free model last year, is putting more data center needs on the company, thus the expansion. This has Greenpeace activists concerned because of the corresponding data center power needs that this will create, especially considering that a $1 billion data center will require so much energy that only a fraction of it will be able to come from renewable, clean sources.
Given Apple’s power in the ecosystem of data center power consumers, Greenpeace will have more influence in the broader market if they can convince Apple to change its approach and then encourage others to follow suit.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin