*[Enwl-eng] [press-release] Apple, Facebook, Google Progress Toward a Green Internet, but Coal-heavy Utilities Stand in the Way

ENWL.Bellona enwl.bellona at gmail.com
Wed May 13 01:19:29 MSD 2015

Greenpeace report urges improved transparency from Amazon and more
engagement from all major internet companies to overcome resistance to
renewable energy from fossil fuel monopolies.


San Francisco, 12 May 2015 - Major internet companies including Apple,
Facebook and Google continue to lead efforts to build an internet that is
renewably powered, but an uncooperative fossil fuel sector and rapid energy
demand growth for the internet places those ambitions under threat,
according to a new report released today by Greenpeace [1]. Continued
resistance to renewable investments from coal-heavy monopoly utilities in
data center hot spots such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Taiwan is
causing the rapid growth in the digital world to increase the demand for
dirty energy.

“Tech companies are increasingly turning to the smart choice of renewable
energy to power the internet, but they're hitting a wall of stubborn
monopoly power companies that refuse to switch to 21st century sources of
energy. Internet companies need to work together to push utilities and
policymakers to provide them with 100% renewable energy and avoid the
creation of a dirty internet.” said Gary Cook, Senior IT Analyst for
Greenpeace USA.

The report, “Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet,” also
highlights the continued lack of transparency by cloud giant Amazon Web
Services (AWS).  AWS has taken some significant steps over the last year,
including committing to power its operations with 100% renewable energy,
but the lack of basic transparency about its energy use is a growing
concern for its customers.  Although AWS did announce plans to purchase
over 100 MW of wind energy this past year, Greenpeace discovered that AWS
continues to rapidly expand in Virginia. Based on an analysis of permit
applications by Amazon subsidiary Vadata, AWS made investments in new data
center capacity in 2014 that would increase its energy demand by 200 MW in
that state, where the utility Dominion powers the grid with only 2%
renewable energy. [2]

The report found that Apple continues to be the most aggressive in powering
its data center operations with renewable energy. Despite continued rapid
growth, Apple appears to have kept pace with its supply of renewable
energy, maintaining its claim of a 100% renewably powered cloud for another
year, followed by Yahoo, Facebook and Google with 73%, 49% and 46% clean
energy respectively. Greenpeace found that Amazon’s current investments
would deliver an energy mix of 23% renewable energy for its operations.

“Amazon needs to provide more information about its data center footprint
and how it will move toward 100% renewable energy, as Apple, Google, and
Facebook have done - its rapid expansion in coal dependent Virginia should
be a concern to its customers like Netflix and Pinterest who are fully
dependent on Amazon for their online operations. Increased transparency
will allow AWS customers to know where they and AWS stand on their journey
to 100% renewable energy,” said Cook.

The energy use of our digital infrastructure, which would have ranked sixth
in the world among countries in 2011, continues to rapidly increase, and is
largely being driven by the dramatic growth of streaming video services
like Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu. Video streaming is estimated to account
for more than 60% of consumer internet traffic today, and is expected to
grow to 76% by 2018. [3]

Apple continues to lead the way toward a green internet with several major
renewable energy investments announced in the last year, including an $850
million deal to power its operations in California - the largest ever
non-utility solar deal. [4] Google’s march toward 100% renewable energy is
threatened by monopoly utilities like Duke Energy in North Carolina, a
major hub for data centers. Currently, customers are not allowed to buy
power from anyone other than Duke, which gets only 2% of its electricity
from renewable sources, [5] but North Carolina legislators are trying to
increase the options for consumers to buy renewable energy from parties
other than Duke Energy.

Colocation companies, the internet landlords that rent out data center
space, continue to lag far behind consumer-facing data center operators in
seeking renewable energy to power their operations, but Equinix’s adoption
of a 100% renewable energy commitment and offering of renewably hosted
facilities is an important step forward and puts the company at the front
of the colocation pack.

Greenpeace contacted every company assessed in the report to request data
on their energy use. When companies did not respond, as was the case with
Amazon, Greenpeace estimated their energy consumption using conservative
assumptions and publicly available information.

Greenpeace is calling on all major internet companies to:
• Make a long-term commitment to become 100% renewably powered.
• Commit to transparency on IT performance and consumption of resources,
including the sources of electricity, to enable customers, investors, and
stakeholders to measure progress toward that goal.
• Develop a strategy for increasing their supply of renewable energy,
through a mixture of procurement, investment, and corporate advocacy to
both electricity suppliers and government decision-makers.



1. Report available at: http://www.clickclean.org/#report

2. Dominion Integrated Resource Plan 2013, p25:

Diesel generator permits available here:

3. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013–2018(2014)

4. Bloomberg News, Feb 11, 2015: What Apple Just Did in Solar Is a Really
Big Deal

5. Duke Energy Q4 2014 Statistical Supplement

Joe Smyth, Greenpeace USA Communications, 831-566-5647,
joe.smyth at greenpeace.org
Gary Cook, Greenpeace USA Senior IT Analyst, gary.cook at greenpeace.org,
Dave Pomerantz, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner,
dave.pomerantz at greenpeace.org, 914-584-9054


From: "Arin de Hoog" <arin.de.hoog at greenpeace.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 5:18 PM
Subject: [press-release] Apple, Facebook, Google Progress Toward a Green 
Internet, but Coal-heavy Utilities Stand in the Way

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