back to article Amazon, eBay and Oracle in dirty power SHAME

Greenpeace has released a report naming the tech companies who make the best (and worst) use of renewable energy. The 2015 Clicking Green report (PDF) named which companies were relying heavily on renewable resources and which were powering their datacenters with coal and other non-renewable materials. The report grades …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More important things

    This is just a clickbait story created by Greenpeace to justify their existence. Datacentres are not a major user of energy worldwide and overall they're efficient and using relatively low emission energy sources..

    How much work is Greenpeace doing in China or India or the other parts of the world which are producing vast and rapidly increasing amounts of emissions? I think that's what they should be worrying about.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: More important things

        they don't usually have solar panels or turbines on the roof

        Well, they ought to. There are companies that will rent roof space and install the solar panels, should the server farm operators not wish to make the investment themselves. Heck, building codes ought to outlaw large areas of roof with high insolation that aren't equipped with solar panels!

        (As for the cost - how about scrapping a few regulations that marginally increase a building's fire safety at considerable added construction cost? Unnecessarily pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere is a far greater hazard!)

  2. Pompous Git Silver badge


    "Apple continues to lead the charge in powering its corner of the internet with renewable energy even as it continues to rapidly expand. All three of its data center expansions announced in the past year will be powered with renewable energy," the report notes.

    "Apple is also having a positive impact on pushing major colocation providers to help it maintain progress toward its 100 per cent renewable energy goal."

    So their datacentres won't be available when the sun doesn't shine, or the wind doesn't blow. Interesting concept.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      What about Hydro Leccy?

      What about pump stored systems?

      What about burning non fossil fuels (like the Drax Power station can) such as wood?

      Just saying that renewable energy is not confined to Sun/Solar and Wind?

      But it is Apple we are talking about so it is certainly the devil that is powering their DC's at night.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        Hydro is not considered renewable. See:

        So that also deals with your pump stored systems. Not to put to fine a point on this, here in Tasmania (powered by filthy, dirty hydro-power) [1], the windmills kill our top predator, the Tasmanian Wedgetail Eagles at a rate beyond their capacity to reproduce. And they are definitely not "renewable" once they are dead!

        The Drax solution is laughable in the extreme. How are they going to transport the firewood from the USA to the UK? Sailing ships?

        [1] To add insult to injury, our hydro electricity is "exported" to the mainland because it's "less polluting" and our electricity is "imported" from brown coal fired thermal power plants on the mainland.

    2. Indolent Wretch

      Re: Really?

      It's more than that. The report gives Apple a 100% rating on clean energy.

      Allowing this is only for datacentres (no mention of what's going on in China) it just doesn't tally with your quoted sentence "toward its 100 per cent renewable energy goal", are they moving toward it or are they there?

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Really?

        Probably just proves that there's a massive correlation between the sets of "sandal wearing leaf-munching eco-nazis" and "blinkered apple fanbois".

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          Re: Really?

          True but (as any statistician will tell you) correlation is not causation. Parallel evoluti - Oh wait

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Really?

          If I could upvote you more and more often, I would.

          Greenpeace is a conniving group of blackmailers who think they can "shame" companies into following their facist farce.

          Apple makes it's very living on the deluded morons that think Greenpeace is a role model.

          Burn them both and then nuke them from orbit. THAT will definitely make the world a better place

  3. Nigel 11

    "AWS's continued lack of transparency is a problem that will likely become a bigger concern to its customers. AWS has recently stated that it is currently 25 per cent renewably powered, but with no additional detail provided,"

    Which could mean "we get out power from the national grid in the country where our datacentre is located, and the statistics provided by our power suppliers suggest that 25% of the power that they supply to us comes from renewable sources".

    Electricity can't be stored to any grid-scale meaningful extent, and it can't be labelled or assayed. For any company foolishly paying a premium for renewably sourced electricity, there's another one being subsidized to take the electricity generated by dirty power stations at a (slightly) lower price! Any claim for a grid-connected facility that it's "100% renewably powered" is greenwash, pure and simple.

    Which isn't to say that renewable generation is pointless, but that targeting particular consumers is pointless (except if they have a facility that might be running with solar power off its roof, or might be using its "waste" heat constructively, and aren't.)

    The greenest thing that server farm operators could do is to invest in cooling systems that dump "waste" heat into water, that could then be sold to surrounding communities for indoor heating during eight or more months of the year. Sadly, there seem to be no economic incentives being provided to encourage the recycling of "waste" heat so it ceases to be wasted. Solar or wind generation, yes. Running indoor heating with energy that's already been used once, no.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Renewable power tends to be more expensive than "dirty" power. Also at present supplies are limited and unlikely to meet a significant portion of global demaind for some considerable time to come.

    If all these tech companies simply purchase all the capacity, by in effect outbidding ordinary consumers*, then we consumers end up paying more for the goods and services we get from them, in addition to which we consumers will later be castigated for using too much dirty power.

    So the net result of this for me is that I'll end up a bit poorer and being told I'm responsible for killing polar bears. Probably by the self-righteous Shoreditch lot.

    *Yes, I too hope that investment by them might make the technology cheaper over time.

  5. druck Silver badge

    Apple; 100% renewable, but 0% recyclable

    The data centres may be ok, but their products will end up in a landfill.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Apple; 100% renewable, but 0% recyclable

      Gosh! You're not seriously suggesting that products sporting a line-art pic of a wheelie bin with an "X" through it might get thrown away are you? The EU spent a fortune on that legislation and obliging all the manufacturers to correctly label their products, I'd hate to think that was a monumental waste of time, money and resources....

      </mock horror>

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Stu Mac

    Very simple solution, move to France. 75% nuclear, greenest industrialised nation on the planet.

    Funny that Greenpeace doesn't make more of this, almost as if clean air wasn't really their motivation.

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