Apple's iCloud Data Center Will Use Green Energy

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 05-21-2012 Print Email
The company said its North Carolina facility will be powered by a combination of solar power, green fuel cells and other sources of renewable energy.

Apple, a recent target of Greenpeace for its reliance on coal energy to power its data centers, is making a push to bring renewable and environmentally friendly resources to its facilities.

Apple officials said on the company's Website that by the end of the year, its 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, N.C.--which powers the vendor s iCloud service--will be powered entirely by renewable resources, including a combination of solar power and bio-gas-powered fuel cells.

And the green IT effort will expand to Apple's existing data center in Newark, Calif., and the one the company is building in Prineville, Ore., and builds off of what Apple already has done at other facilities around the world, officials said in the lengthy posting outlining their plans in North Carolina.

And none of the data centers will be powered by coal-generated energy, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer told several news outlets.

Apple's announcement comes a month after Greenpeace, in a report entitled "How Green Is Your Cloud," criticized Apple for lagging behind other tech giants, like Google and Facebook, due to its use of coal-generated power. In conjunction with the release of the report, Greenpeace also staged protests over the past few weeks at Apple sites around the world, including the company's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and its European headquarters in Cork, Ireland.

In a May 18 post on the organization s blog, Greenpeace analyst Peter Cook applauded Apple's efforts at its North Carolina facility and others, but pushed the tech giant to do more.

"The announcement is a great sign that Apple is taking seriously the hundreds of thousands of its customers who have asked for an iCloud powered by clean energy, not dirty coal," Cook wrote. "However, there's still so much more to be done, and we think that Apple can go all the way. Apple's doubling of its solar capacity and investment in local renewable energy are key steps to creating a cleaner iCloud, but Greenpeace supporters and Apple's customers still look forward to hearing details about how Apple plans to fulfill its commitment to renewable energy for its North Carolina and Oregon data centers in the U.S."

Apple officials last month disputed the findings in the Greenpeace report. Apple's Oppenheimer would not say how much influence the Greenpeace report or demonstrations had in the company's green IT efforts, though he did say the initiatives have been in the planning stage for more than a year.

Data center power has been a growing concern in the United States for almost a decade, as driven initially by the development of more powerful and smaller servers that has led to increasingly compute-dense facilities. More recently has been the rise of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon--as well as the expanding businesses of established vendors like Apple and Microsoft--which are building massive data centers to power their Web-based businesses.



 

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