Greenpeace Calls Apple “Dirtiest” Internet Company, Apple Defends Data Center Operations

Apple, Inc. and environmental group Greenpeace are sparring with one another over Apple’s energy consumption at several large “data farms.” Greenpeace this week released a report in which the organization claims Apple is the “dirtiest” of technology giants for the second year in a row, claiming that its vast data centers used to power the “cloud” for iPhone and iPad owners are using non-renewable energy sources while damaging the environment.

In its annual report Greenpeace claims Apple’s reliance on coal power for its iCloud services is the worst in the industry.

According to Greenpeace spokesman Dave Pomerantz:

“Apple right now is falling behind companies like Google and Facebook, who are taking a leadership role on this issue.” and “It’s a shame that a company that built its reputation on thinking differently is now behind the curve.”

Greenpeace claims that Apple’s plant in Maiden, North Carolina which opened last year to power iCloud devices will use 100MW in power each year and that renewable energy would only account for 10 percent of that consumption.

Apple however disputes those claims, instead revealing that the plant will only use 20MW and that 60 percent of its energy will come from renewable sources including a 171-acre solar array the company is building nearby and fuel cell installation that will be one of the largest of its kind.

According to an Apple spokesman:

“Our data centre in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 per cent of that power on-site from renewable sources including a solar farm and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country.”

Apple goes on to note:

“We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data centre ever built, and it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Greenpeace also rates Apple as the worst offender of environmental concerns because of various toxic chemicals the company uses in its phones including flame retardants.

Other company’s high up on Greenpeace’s hit list include Amazon and Twitter.

In the meantime Google and Facebook have been praised by Greenpeace thanks in no small part to those company’s reliance on green data centers.