When it’s hippie vs hippie, it can be hard to know which side to root for. Here’s Greenpeace (aka hippies with sinkable ships) going after Apple and facebook (aka inventive hippies with massive profits) over their energy consumption.
The $1 Billion (USD) Apple iData Center in North Carolina, expected to open this spring, will consume as much as 100 MW of electricity, equivalent to the electricity usage of approximately 80,000 homes in the U.S. or over a quarter million in the E.U.. The surrounding energy grid has less than 5 percent clean energy, with the remaining 95 percent coming from dirty, dangerous sources like coal and nuclear.
You’d rather it draw its power from magic pixy dust? It’s not like Apple, complete with Goracle on the corporate board, built the grid it’s using. They’re just a customer.
Facebook, one of the fastest growing and most popular destinations on the web, is unfortunately on track to be the most dependent cloud computing companies on coal-powered electricity, with over 53 percent of its facilities estimated to rely on coal to power the Facebook cloud.
Ditto the above. Look, the US has lots of coal we can get at, cheaply, and lots of oil that the luddite left won’t let us get at at all. That leaves nuclear, which has always been a non-starter with the likes of Greenpeace, and is even more so after Fukushima (never mind that the vast majority of US nuke plants aren’t in tsunami zones). Sure, it leaves renewables like wind too. But try selling that to the Kennedy clan. They’ll support green initiatives right up to the time it spoils their view. Then it’s “Toss another mummy on the fire!” Unless you have endless miles of essentially unused land very far away from people, wind power is a tough sell. West Texas has lots of it, mainly because there’s hardly anyone there to object or pick up the dead birds.
Anyway, I’m going to go with the inventive hippies on this one. Greenpeace seems to be in shakedown mode, and if they succeed, we will end up depending even more for our energy on sources outside the US, and as often as not in the hands of despots.
Update: Greenpeace study shows startling fact: Coal is a job-creator!