Apple rejects Greenpeace claims of “dirty energy” for cloud sites

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Protesters stage hour long rooftop protest at Apple building in Cork against energy policies for cloud computing

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18 April 2012 | 0

Computer giant Apple has rejected claims from Greenpeace that their new North Carolina data centre will be mostly coal powered following criticism from the environmental lobby group in a new report into electricity consumption by data centers.

Activists held a rooftop protest this morning at Apple’s European headquarters in Cork after a number of protesters scaled the building around 7am and voluntarily came down after an hour.

Gardai and the fire service were called to the scene but there were no arrests, while other activists handed out leaflets to the staff of the company.

Greenpeace praised Apple’s energy policy in Ireland where their Cork plant is run on renewable energy, but claimed that their new facility in North Carolina will only use renewable sources of energy for around 10% of their electricity.

Apple rejected the report "How Clean is Your Cloud" findings, claiming that 60% of their power will eventually be delivered on-site from a solar farms and fuel-cell installation.

Ireland is increasingly becoming an important base for cloud computing with the Government and investors highlighting the cool climate and westerly weather patterns as a big draw.

The Greenpeace study found that companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Amazon and Microsoft are building more data centres for customers to store and share information.

Facebook was noted for its Swedish data center, powered entirely by renewable energy, and Google received high marks for being more transparent about its energy use and committing to use renewable energy.

Amazon and Microsoft, however, also received low marks from Greenpeace, which said both "rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds".

Fiona Donnellan

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