Greenpeace Calls Out Apple and Google to Do More For Clean Energy

Being a giant tech company means being an innovative leader. But are all tech companies developing or championing clean energy tactics? Apple has committed to building solar farms, but even they are not doing enough. A new report from Greenpeace calls out major tech companies, including Apple, for moving forward with clean energy, but asking them to put in additional efforts to adapt and embrace renewable clean energy policies, including lobbying for clean energy at local, state, and federal levels.

Which Tech Company is King of Clean Energy?

So who’s winning clean energy, and who’s still dirty? Greenpeace’s report chastises Oracle, eBay, and Amazon, ranking them in the “dirty energy” category. Microsoft and IBM are “taking steps toward a greener Internet,” while Google, Apple, and Facebook are leading the way and are committed to 100 percent renewable energy.

On the other side, Apple continues to rapidly expand, powering new data centers with renewable energy. Google is matching Apple in deploying renewable energy with its expansion in some markets, but renewable energy is increasingly under threat by monopoly utilities for data centers locally and internationally.

Why Are So Many Tech Companies Using Dirty Energy?

Because our demand for energy continues to be bolstered by new technology (social networking, video streaming, storing everything in the cloud), tech companies across the board need to step up their game.

While Grist cites that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft all dropped out of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) because of bad publicity surrounding climate change, Greenpeace argues they’ll have to do much more than just quit lobbying groups. Instead of distancing themselves from dirty energy, they’ll have to actually get involved in politics and advocate for renewable, clean energy solutions.

However, while many tech companies have the best intentions, clean energy may not be available to them. Energy dependent utility monopolies provide electricity for massive — and rapidly expanding — data centers. So if these utilities use coal or natural gas, then by extension so do the tech companies, Grist points out.

With Internet and mobile traffic increasing exponentially, there needs to be a way to equally increase energy supply at data centers. For example, generating clean power on-site with solar panels will do this — that’s what Apple is already doing. Another option is power purchase agreements, wherein a tech company can make a deal with a clean energy supplier and agree to buy clean power from the local utility. Still, companies have to become advocates with regulators and policymakers who have the power to change markets, which in turn does not just affect their bottom line, but will affect the way all companies approach clean energy.

Do you have ideas for how tech companies can support solar and clean energy? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


Image Credit: via FlickR under a Creative Commons license


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