Apple Rated Poorly For Its Massive Energy Use

Large corporations often own many factories and warehouses from which their products are produced. This means consumption of energy, and lots of it. Greenpeace has been keeping tabs on mega corporations and grading them based on the amount of energy their factories consume.

Among these corporations include Apple. While this tech company may be the leading brand in mobile devices, it does not fare so well when graded according to the energy it uses to fuel its production line. While Apple’s score did improve in recent months, it is still not receiving a passing grade. When it came to infrastructure siting, Apple was given a “D,” an improvement from the “F” that it received a few months prior. It also improved from a “D” to a “C” when it came to greenhouse gas mitigation, energy efficiency and renewable energy investment.

To give the company a little credit, it is showing efforts that it is dedicated to making its facilities more eco-friendly. It just recently announced that it has plans to make one of its data centers run entirely off of renewable energy by year’s end. This includes the addition of bio gas fuel cell and solar array installation. A spokesperson for the company announced that its two main data centers in California and North Carolina are expected to be completely independent of coal by February of 2013.

Greenpeace has praised Apple for its commitment of making its facilities run off of renewable energy sources but continues to chide the corporation for its overall dismal record. It also blasted Apple for its apparent lack of transparency, as the company has consistently been beating around the bush when it came to releasing energy consumption records of its facilities.

In terms of grading, Apple falls against other mega giants. Corporations like Yahoo, Amazon and Google all received better grades from Greenpeace.

Apple into Renewable Energy

According to reports, Apple is increasing their investment in renewable energy. Recently, Apple was issued the necessary permits to prepare a site for a large solar farm on a 171 acre plot of vacant land near their data center in Maiden, North Carolina.

The data center, which is used for Apple’s new iCloud service, has been criticized in the past for its reliance on cheap, coal and nuclear-generated power.

Eric Smalley from Wired stresses that recent criticism of Apple’s environmental impact “raises the possibility that the solar plant is part of a greenwashing campaign aimed at blunting criticism from the environmental movement.” However, if the entire site is developed, it “could generate 25 to 35 megawatts of power, depending on the solar technology used.”

Notwithstanding Apple’s motives, the North Carolina solar farm is not the firm’s first foray into renewable energy. According to Apple’s Facilities Report, however, the company’s facilities in Ireland, Cork, Elk Grove, California and Austin, Texas are all powered completely by renewable energy. Apple insists they avoided releasing 27.5 million kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2010 by utilizing renewable energy sources.

Apple has been increasingly mum about their solar plans. The permit which Apple filed is solely for permission to reshape the lot’s terrain and only discusses erosion control measures during construction and plans for gravel access roads. Yet more facts are foreseen for when Apple applies for a building permit.

AppleInsider has images of Apple’s permit and reports that land clearing has already begun and is “bothering the neighbors.”

Earlier this year, Apple was criticized in China for “turning a blind eye as its suppliers pollute the country.”