Greenpeace: Apple?s clean energy plans still cloudy

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Despite a welcome commitment by Apple in May that its data centers will be coal-free and powered by 100 percent renewable energy, the analysis revealed that Apple still lacks a plan that outlines a realistic path to eliminate its reliance on coal to power its iCloud. The analysis, ?A Clean Energy Road Map for Apple? is a follow-up evaluation to Greenpeace?s April ?How Clean is Your Cloud?? report, which ranked companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple on their renewable energy policies. The latest analysis updated the scores to account for Apple?s new announcements and found that Apple?s plans to make its three existing data centers ?coal-free? are still far from complete. ?Apple has the potential to set a new bar with its coal-free iCloud commitment, but its plans to reach this goal are still mostly talk and not enough walk,? said Greenpeace International senior IT analyst Gary Cook. ?Apple got a lot of kudos and positive attention for its clean energy commitments in May, but it now must explain to its customers how it plans to fully eliminate its dirty energy sources, and should extend that policy to new data centers as its iCloud expands.? Apple?s clean energy score improved to 22.6 percent from 15.3 percent, and its grades in the ?Renewables and Advocacy? and ?Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation? categories correspondingly improved to Cs from Ds. However, Apple received a D for its ?Energy Transparency? and a D in the ?Infrastructure Siting? category. Apple?s coal and nuclear energy scores decreased, but could go down more if Apple were to reveal viable plans for how it will power its rapidly expanding data centers without the use of coal. It now uses 33.5 percent coal energy to power its cloud, down from 55.1 percent in April, and 11.6 percent nuclear energy, down from 27.8 in April. The analysis includes a checklist for how Apple can make good on its coal-free iCloud pledge. Apple says solar panels and fuel cells will provide 60 percent of the electricity for the first phase of its data center in North Carolina, and will turn to regional renewable energy providers for the remaining 40 percent. However, since Apple will have to buy that electricity from Duke Energy, the only electric utility in the area ? and one which also relies heavily on coal ? Apple cannot be coal-free without pushing Duke toward that goal as well, Greenpeace said. More than 250,000 customers of Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have written to the companies asking for a cleaner cloud since Greenpeace launched its Clean Our Cloud campaign on April 18. ]]>

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