Friday, 18 May 2012 16:12

Greenpeace butts heads with Apple again


Has the environmental campaigning organisation once again failed to give credit where it is due? Is it taking credit that it doesn't deserve?

Following a recent campaign by Greenpeace, Apple has made it clear that its various data centres will use clean power. But I think it would be a mistake to attribute the change - as opposed it its announcement - to Greenpeace.

Greenpeace has a track record of judging Apple by its public statements rather than its actions. Attacking one of the most valuable and highest profile companies on the planet is sure to garner publicity.

So once again I suspect that Greenpeace's activities haven't led to any real changes at Apple. Instead they have merely caused the notoriously close-lipped company to spell out certain information. (Businessweek reports that Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said Apple's renewable energy plans were set last year.)

Apple has now stated that its Maiden data centre will generate 60% of its 20MW power draw with onsite solar panels and fuel cells, making it "the most environmentally sound data center ever built." The plans to use solar panels and fuel cells has been public knowledge for some time, as it has been reported by the local newspaper.

What about the other 40%? That'll be "clean, renewable energy generated by local and regional sources." Furthermore, the company is using various methods to make the data centre energy efficient, including outside air cooling, precision cooling management, and white roofs.

Apple already uses 100% renewable energy at its Austin, Sacramento, Cork and Munich centres, and its Cupertino headquarters uses more than 50% renewable energy. The Newark (California, not New Jersey) data centre will be powered by clean energy by next February, and the new Prineville data centre will use 100% local renewable energy.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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