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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Earlier this year, environmental activist group Greenpeace made waves with a report taking Apple and other companies to task for not doing enough to eliminate the use of dirty coal-sourced power at their data centers. Apple quickly responded at the time to note that Greenpeace had greatly overestimated the power needs of the company's flagship data center in Maiden, North Carolina, thereby understating the impact of Apple's solar and fuel cell power generation occurring at the site.

In that statement, Apple refuted Greenpeace's estimate of peak power demand of 100 megawatts for the data center, revealing that power demand would actually peak at 20 megawatts. And a month later, Apple published additional details on its efforts to run all of its data centers on 100% green energy.

Greenpeace announced yesterday that it has prepared an updated report on Apple's energy usage based on the new information, but as noted by Data Center Knowledge's Rich Miller, the group still seems to be being overly critical in its grading of Apple, even continuing to make up its own estimates of the North Carolina data center's energy usage rather than believing Apple's public statements.
In its initial report in April, Greenpeace estimated Apple's power use in North Carolina at a whopping 100 megawatts. The group has reduced that slightly to 81 megawatts, dismissing the company's disclosure that it expects draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity.
Miller goes on to note that Apple has clearly disclosed in regulatory documents that it intends to install backup generators capable of producing 41 megawatts of electricity in an "N+2" configuration that keeps at least two generators as spares, meaning that Apple is only planning for peak demand of 35-36 megawatts at an absolute maximum.

greenpeace_maiden_data_center_energy_revised.jpg



Miller points to two possible reasons for Greenpeace's continued refusal to acknowledge Apple's statements and other official documents addressing the data center's power needs:
Greenpeace's continuing use of this methodology, in light of Apple's disclosure and permit data, raises several possibilities:

- Greenpeace is having difficulty developing estimates that accurately incorporate data center operations and power usage.
- Greenpeace is predisposed to cling to estimates that make Apple look less "green" because it generates more headlines for its awareness campaigns.
For its part, Apple has continued to stand by its earlier comments, issuing a statement to Forbes:
We're committed to building the world's most environmentally responsible data centers and are leading the industry in the use of renewable energy, including the nation's largest private solar arrays and non-utility fuel cell installation," Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokewoman, said today. "As we've said before, our North Carolina and California data centers will be coal-free as of February 2013 and our newest data centers in Oregon and Nevada will be designed to meet that standard from Day One."
Greenpeace's revised report gives Apple no additional credit for transparency, despite the company having explicitly revealed the power requirements of the data center, and the group's insistence on sticking with an 81-megawatt estimate of peak power capacity brings Apple's usage of renewable energy at the site down to just 22% as opposed to the 60% figure explicitly stated by Apple.

Greenpeace is also reluctant to give Apple credit for its fuel cell installation, waiting to hear whether Apple will actually be using biogas to directly power the cells or if it will be using natural gas and instead purchasing biogas to be inserted elsewhere in the distribution system to offset the company's natural gas usage. But given that Apple's biogas commitment would have the same net effect on overall natural gas consumption regardless of where exactly in the distribution system it is used, it seems that Apple should be pursuing the most cost-effective strategy for deploying that biogas.

Article Link: Greenpeace Under Fire Again After Regrading of Apple's Data Center Energy Plans
 

Skika

macrumors 68030
Mar 11, 2009
2,997
1,245
Greenpeace just wants attention and publicity.
 
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sbrhwkp3

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2005
533
52
Lake George, NY
So Greenpeace environmental experts know how much power data centers consume?

This is funny. In reality, the number probably lies somewhere in the middle, closer to Apple's side.

Environmental crazies will always overstate in an effort to hang onto an extra bargaining chip when they're pushing for even more environmentally friendly systems.
 

marc7654

macrumors newbie
Jul 2, 2007
16
0
Indiana
Will never be happy

Greenpeace won't be happy until people stop using electricity. They are just a bunch of luddites.
 

Dainin

macrumors regular
Sep 4, 2009
180
127
Greenpeace again proves that it is completely worthless. Nothing but attention whores.
 

eelkefolmer

macrumors newbie
Jun 27, 2012
2
0
It's all cool. Apple's new data center in Reno will be 100% geothermal powered with no problems with peak demand as geothermal provides constant output. Green peace is good though for pointing out these energy demands
 

JohnDoe98

macrumors 68020
May 1, 2009
2,488
99
Talk about being bad at math. The picture says 14.2 0f 20 is only 60%... (yaya, fine print:))
 

burjeffton

macrumors newbie
Oct 18, 2011
10
0
I'm positive these dirty hippies' reports weren't created using evil power-hungry computers.

DOH-KAY!
 

bse3

macrumors member
Dec 27, 2011
55
0
Greenpeace has a waay different agenda. And this clearly shows it again. They are anti-globalization, not pro-planet. Gotta hate those hippies.
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,879
1,538
Falls Church, VA
Greenpeace's early efforts it seems got the ball rolling on getting Apple to be more transparent on its "greenness", but these efforts are just stupid.

To be clear, I do understand wanting to come up with your own numbers and not trusting what a company says its power utilization is going to be, but they should be much closer to the numbers provided by the backup generator capacity, as that number should be somewhat accurate.

Greenpeace making themselves in this way just hurts the overall environmental effort, which if anything needs to be re-energized a bit in light of Apple's withdrawl from EPEAT.
 

Foxer

macrumors 65816
Feb 22, 2003
1,254
25
Washington, DC
Greenpeace, masters of PR, have learned what so many other media whores have learned: Criticize Apple and you will get headlines.
 

IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,479
Palookaville
So we are expected to believe either (A) a group of rabid activists, or (B) a huge corporation. Can we have another choice, please?
 

peb123

macrumors member
Feb 14, 2010
67
1
I'd love to see a green report done on Greenpeace. I'm willing to bet they are hypocrites.
 

HelveticaRoman

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2011
258
0
Even the Dalai Lama would be shot down in flames if he ever suggested Apple was anything less than perfection on earth. There seems to be more than a little evidence of a cultish element at work here.
 

ikramerica

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2009
1,040
1,226
Even the Dalai Lama would be shot down in flames if he ever suggested Apple was anything less than perfection on earth. There seems to be more than a little evidence of a cultish element at work here.

Right. Greenpeace = Lama? Fail.

Anyway, Greenpeace is basically arguing that Apple has installed backup generators under 50% of the size they would actually need.

Do you think Apple is that stupid?

Or does Greenpeace have an agenda and doesn't want to be shown to be making stuff up?

I'll leave that for you to decide. You are obviously unbiased.
 

henryhbk

macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2002
116
71
Boston
To be clear, I do understand wanting to come up with your own numbers and not trusting what a company says its power utilization is going to be, but they should be much closer to the numbers provided by the backup generator capacity, as that number should be somewhat accurate.

Assuming apple isn't staffed by a group of idiots, they wouldn't have more usage than their generators could support. Otherwise they wouldn't make very good backup. So to be consistent at least GP could use the 41MW figure to appear less out of touch.
 

blumpkin

macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2011
102
0
Greenpeace will be pleased to learn that my V-16 Maybach runs on liquified poor people.
 

aaarrrgggh

macrumors regular
Jul 1, 2007
159
24
N+2 or 2N Diesels

20MW for a 500kSF facility is a bit on the low side, even if only half the area is raised floor. Also, the diesels are not likely to be N+2 given the total installed capacity-- it looks like they have (22) prime-rated 1.875MW engines. That would fit better as a 2N arrangement. I guess it is possible they are using a catcher arrangement, but that is a bit of an odd-ball for a company like Apple.
 
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