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Greenpeace dishes the dirt on data centres

Facebook, Apple score badly for using coal, nuclear energy to power their data

Greenpeace dishes the dirt on data centres
Greenpeace's new report, 'How Dirty is Your Data', looks at the sources of energy for data centres across the globe. The report points fingers at Apple and Facebook for using non-renewable energy sources.

Greenpeace has launched a new report called ‘How dirty is your data?', which looks at energy choices made by IT companies across the globe for their data centres.

Companies looked at in the report include Amazon.com (Amazon Web Services), Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo.

The Greenpeace report underlines the necessity of global IT brands being more transparent about their energy sources and the carbon footprint of their data centres.

According to Greenpeace, data centres consume 1.5% to 2% of the global energy demand and in the US, this figure rises to 3%.

The energy consumption rate for data centres is currently growing at a rate of 12% per year as the need for more data storage increases.

The total energy consumption for the internet, if it was rated as a country, would be fifth in the world, just after Japan and above Russia.

"Our analysis of current data centre investments has found that despite significant advances in making data centres more energy efficient, the sector as a whole is largely ignoring the importance of using renewable energy. Instead, the IT sector is fuelling its expansion, and the storage of your data, with dirty energy sources, like coal and nuclear," said the report.

The new $1b Apple iData Centre in North Carolina, which is expected to open later in the year is likely to use 10MW of electricity, equivalent to the electricity usage of approximately 80,000 homes in the US, according to Greenpeace.

Ninety-five percent of the energy on the energy grid in this area is supplied by dirty energy sources such as coal and nuclear power.

One of the most popular social networking sites, Facebook, has proven to be one of the most dirty energy reliant cloud computing companies, according to Greenpeace, relying on coal powered electricity for 53% of its facilities.

In contrast, Yahoo! and Google have endeavoured to use renewable energy for their data centres. Yahoo! has sited most of its data sites near sources of renewable energy and Google has invested in solar and wind power projects in many US states and Germany.


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