Apple is battling claims by Greenpeace that it is the “dirtiest” of the technology giants for the second year in a row because of the way it powers its vast data centres, which deliver an array of services to iPhone and iPad owners. The environmental campaign group said in its annual report on internet firms that Apple relied on coal power for services such as iCloud and the voice-controlled “personal assistant", Siri, more than its rivals. “Apple right now is falling behind companies like Google and Facebook, who are taking a leadership role on this issue,” said Greenpeace spokesman Dave Pomerantz.
But Apple hit back before the report was published on Tuesday, disputing Greenpeace’s figures and highlighting the green credentials of its enormous billion-dollar data centre in Maiden, North Carolina, and a second it plans to build in Oregon. Greenpeace claimed that the North Carolina facility, which opened last year to support the launch of iCloud, Apple’s suite of online backup services, would require up to 100MW in power and that renewable energy would meet for only 10% of demand. Apple responded that the data centre would in fact consume a peak of only 20MW, of which 60% would come from renewable sources such as a 171-acre solar array it is building nearby. “Our data centre in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60% of that power on-site from renewable sources including a solar farm and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country,” an Apple spokesman said.