Like all slacktivism entities looking to leech some media limelight off of companies that actually make stuff, Greenpeace subscribes heavily to the school of “making shit up”. Because Apple has always been a secretive company that doesn’t bend over backwards to qualify outside parties’ stupid claims, Greenpeace can publish garbage and not think twice about it.
Lately, however, Apple hasn’t been suffering fools with the same stoicism. Yesterday, Greenpeace posted a report titled “How Clean is Your Cloud”, which aimed to assess the current state of Green Energy use among the leading technology companies. Even though Greenpeace wasn’t able to obtain any information about Apple’s data center in North Carolina, that didn’t stop them from assessing the facility “[u]sing conservative calculations” and the “best information available to derive power demand”. This “best information” led them to report that Apple’s 20MW solar array and 5MW fuel cell installation “will cover only 10% of their total generation for the data center”, thereby earning them D’s and F’s on Greenpeace’s “scorecard”. In a very un-Apple-like move, the company issued a statement the same day that basically said Greenpeace’s methodology wasn’t worth the pdf it was laid out on. From Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet:
Our data center in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 percent 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. We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data center ever built…”
60%, not 10%. Huguet also threw in some information about a second facility to open in Oregon next year that will be powered by 100% renewable energy. You’d think the order-of-magnitude math error and the mention of the 100% renewable energy facility would change Greenpeace’s grading curve. Of course it didn’t. From AppleInsider:
The organization issued a follow-up post on Tuesday explaining the reasoning behind its estimate and commenting on Apple’s response.
“While we welcome Apple’s attempt today to provide more specific details on its North Carolina iData Center, it does not appear to have provided the full story, and is instead seeking to provide select pieces of information to make their dirty energy footprint seem smaller,” the post read.
Maybe it’s me, but these “select pieces of information” pretty much shoot down your 10% number and call into question the entire foundation of your scorecard. This, of course, assumes you assign any value to reports expectorated from Greenpeace’s orifices, something I have personally never done. It is nice to see Apple stay in front of these asshats, though.