Apple, which has built an on-site solar farm and fuel-cells at its North Carolina data centre and has procured renewable energy directly at its other three facilities, has achieved the highest marks of Internet company data centres that Greenpeace issues every two years.
Greenpeace rated Apple’s efforts in renewable energy policy and renewable energy deployment with an A grade in each category, compared with D and F grades two years ago when the group released its last report.
Amazon, which Greenpeace said operates at least 18 data centres around the world, was singled out for being among the least committed to renewable energy, earning F grades in three out of four categories.
The report – Clicking Clean: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet - highlights how some Internet companies “have refused to pay even lip service to sustainability and are simply buying dirty energy straight from the grid.”
Amazon has disputed Greenpeace’s assessment of its data centre operation, saying that the report’s data is inaccurate. In an emailed statement Amazone said that data centres in two regions in which it operates use “100 per cent carbon-free power” but did not go into further detail.
Multibillion-dollar data centre facilities have become the heart of the Internet industry. They store consumers’ email and other personal data, and help deliver popular online offerings such as Facebook’s social network.
According to Greenpeace spokesman David Pomerantz, a large data centre requires as much as 80 megwatts of energy capacity, which would be enough to power about 65,000 US homes.
The report outlines plans of six major Internet services companies - Facebook, Apple, Google, Box, Rackspace and Salesforce.com - to make their data centre operations 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.
The report assessed 19 companies that operate more than 300 data centres combined. Greenpeace used information provided by the companies and utilities to estimate what portion of a company’s web infrastructure is going to be based on renewable energy, which it refers to as a “Clean Energy Index.”
Apple’s Clean Energy Index was 100 per cent, while Facebook and Google were rated at 49 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively.
Google has been a leader in committing to renewable energy but with 13 data centres, compared with Apple’s four, the company faces a bigger task in shifting its overall energy usage to renewable sources.
According to Greenpeace, Amazon Web Services operates more than 10 data centres and has a Clean Energy Index of 15 per cent.