Greenpeace blasts Microsoft and Apple over 'dirty' cloud energy

Cloud computing is supposed to be the wave of the future as more consumers and businesses use files stored on remote servers that can be accessed anywhere via a wireless net connection. But all of those servers need an energy source in order to run. Now the environmental group Greenpeace has issued a report that takes a number of companies, including Microsoft, to task in terms of the use of coal and nuclear energy sources to power cloud servers.

According to the report:

Three of the largest IT companies building their business around the cloud – Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – are all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity, and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds.

The report claims that Microsoft's cloud servers only get 13.9 percent of its energy from so called "clean" sources such as fuel cells and solar arrays. Amazon is slightly worse with 13.5 percent and Apple is only a little bit better with 15.3 percent. Apple is condemned in the report for allegedly relying on coal for 55.1 per cent of its energy requirements; Google, by contrast, relies on coal for just 28.7 percent.

Greenpeace says that other companies that rely on cloud computing have better track records for using clean energy sources. It says that both Yahoo and Google have supported using renewable energy sources and adds that Facebook has also shown some efforts as well, saying,  "Facebook took the first major step in that direction with the construction of its latest data center in Sweden, which can be fully powered by renewable energy."

Apple has already contested Greenpeace's report. PCWorld.com states that, according to an Apple statement, it plans to supply 60 percent of its power for a server farm in Maiden, North Carolina with on site solar cells and fuel cells, adding that they "will each be the largest in the country." Microsoft and Amazon have yet to comment on Greenpeace's report.

Image via Greenpeace

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23 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I wasn't aware that electricity companies gave you an option to choose where your electricity comes from.

Last time I checked, electricity from all sources (coal, gas, nuclear, wind, wave, solar, etc) all went into "the grid" and you then just bought it from "the grid" for so many £ (or $) per watt hours.

It's not like Microsoft is going to build a wind farm next to each of their data centres, is it? And even if they wanted to, local residents wouldn't allow it.

TCLN Ryster said,
I wasn't aware that electricity companies gave you an option to choose where your electricity comes from.

Last time I checked, electricity from all sources (coal, gas, nuclear, wind, wave, solar, etc) all went into "the grid" and you then just bought it from "the grid" for so many £ (or $) per watt hours.

It's not like Microsoft is going to build a wind farm next to each of their data centres, is it? And even if they wanted to, local residents wouldn't allow it.

I wasn't aware that you are forced to buy your electricity from the grid.

Last time I checked, you could chose your electricity company by whatever means you seem fit and you would pay the same company for so many £ (or $) per watt hours.

It's not like Microsoft could not change their electricity company, could they?

Egi said,

Last time I checked, you could chose your electricity company by whatever means you seem fit and you would pay the same company for so many £ (or $) per watt hours.

It's not like Microsoft could not change their electricity company, could they?


Depends on where you live. Here, energy companies have a monopoly over certain regions.

techfreak said,
That's what happens when you use the cloud to stream pr0n.

yep. all that dirty, dirty, dirty porns ... fap fap

timster said,

yep. all that dirty, dirty, dirty porns ... fap fap

In the voice of Fat ****** (or the other guy .. either way)

I luv porn!!! .... they (I will trademark and patent my idea and sue your asses off) ... I will start a porn business and put cameras inside and film the movie ... that is right, take that greenpiece .. piece of .... please don't ban me!

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
I thought they were too busy trying to save the whales.

No, that's done by the crew of the USS Enterprise.

Delmont said,
Who cares what these whackos think.

Well, they have forced many corporate's, to do a greener and more environmentally friendly business. So that's a very good thing.
Sine they are a non-profit, they don't have some sinister reasoning behind all this.

Theyr'e radical morons that want us all living in mud huts.

FMH said,

Well, they have forced many corporate's, to do a greener and more environmentally friendly business. So that's a very good thing.
Sine they are a non-profit, they don't have some sinister reasoning behind all this.

I'm sure all the mentioned companies would love to be more "green" but the costs at this current time and technology are probably holding them back.

Good for Apple replying with it's plans.

Many people however don't have an issue with Nuclear. I'm not sure when Greenpeace was elected in to make decisions.

lt8480 said,
Many people however don't have an issue with Nuclear. I'm not sure when Greenpeace was elected in to make decisions.

I think it's funny that they do, what a bunch of idiotic neanderthals.

knighthawk said,

The script sucked from the get go anyway.

Pardon my ignorance, but what plot? what script? (really am NOT current on this)

waqastariq said,
Pardon my ignorance, but what plot? what script? (really am NOT current on this)
He's referring to the original comment which mentions that Greenpeace have lost the plot (as in, gone off course from what they used to be). Knighthawk commented that the script sucked from the start (as in, their original idea/ethos was rubbish anyway).

Intrinsica said,
He's referring to the original comment which mentions that Greenpeace have lost the plot (as in, gone off course from what they used to be). Knighthawk commented that the script sucked from the start (as in, their original idea/ethos was rubbish anyway).

Tell me MOAR!