With the immediate need to utilize renewable energy, it is unconscionable that facebook and Apple are not taking broader steps towards energy efficiency for their data storage services. It is understandable that our dependence on oil is difficult to modify, given our long term history of using fossil fuels for our automobiles, yet these fairly new technological companies who have the money the resources, and the responsibility to make renewable energy a priority, are setting a negative precedent by utilitzing energy sources that we know to be detrimental to the environment.
Greenpeace reports the following:
With more of our daily rituals taking place online than ever before, the information we generate - videos, pictures, emails, status updates, news, tweets - ends up in giant data storage facilities called data centres. Packed full of computer servers, these facilities consume huge amounts of electricity, amounting to a incredible 1.5 to 2 percent of global energy demand (3 percent in the U.S.) – and it's growing at a rate of 12 percent a year.
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.
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.
Let's be clear - today's technological innovations should not depend on increasing demand for the dirty energy sources of the past. The IT industry prides itself on making the world a more transparent place - so it needs bold leaders who take responsibility for their own energy impacts.
Please join me in calling on Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, to take much broader steps on behalf of us, the end users, to stop their use of dirty energy to store our data. To implement plans with their respective companies, that will reverse the current trend of 5% of the energy source being renewable, to 5% of the energy source being coal and nuclear.