Can the Internet Industry Cut its Addiction to Coal?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Modern telecommunications and social networking websites may be contributing to the problem of global warming, claims Greenpeace.

For popular creations like Facebook or Apple’s new iPad to work, companies must rely on large data centers that house banks of computer servers—and consume enormous amounts of energy. In some instances, these data centers draw their electricity from utilities that rely on coal-burning power plants. This means the more people surf or communicate via “cloud computing,” the more coal gets burned and the more carbon dioxide gets released into the atmosphere.
“The last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power,” reads Greenpeace’s report. Apple is currently building a $1 billion data center in western North Carolina that will be heavily dependent on coal and nuclear power, with renewable sources accounting for only 3.8% of the electricity. The power will come from the same grid that supplies a nearby Google data center.
What Internet companies need to do is locate their server farms in areas that derive energy from “clean” sources, argues the environmental group. One example is Yahoo’s new data center near Buffalo, New York, where hydroelectric power will generate most of the electricity used.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Is Greenpeace Right About Facebook's Coal Habit? (by Preston Gralla, Computerworld)
Backup Generators Installed for Yahoo! Data Center (by Thomas J. Prohaska, Buffalo News)


John Farmer 12 years ago
What do you know Greenpeace is once again shouting about the need to cut the use of fossil fuels and once again not offering any viable solutions to our planets addiction to fossil fuels. The only way we are going to save this planet is with nuclear power. Greenpeace is in fact promoting the continued use of coal since it does not offer any economical viable solutions to coal. So remember every dollar you give to Greenpeace is a dollar going to kill the planet. Viva the nuclear renaissance May Greenpeace RIP, Jfarmer9

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