Apple gets more of its power from coal than any other large tech company – for now

“The world’s tech leaders all need large amounts of electricity to drive their data centers, but they don’t all get their power the same way.,” Alexis Madrigal reports for The Atlantic.

“Some, most notably Google*, have made an effort to reduce the amount of coal that powers their data centers. Others, like Apple, HP, and IBM, have not,” Madrigal reports. “Those three companies get half or more of their power from the carbon heaviest fuel of them all, according to a new report from Greenpeace.”

Madrigal reports, “Absent any kind of real energy policymaking in this country, people who care about climate and energy can only use their consumer dollars to influence the way that companies behave. So, this disparity in company strategy should be highlighted. There’s just no reason that Apple can’t locate its datacenters in places with a cleaner electrical generation mix. None. They’re too profitable to pretend otherwise.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You know what should really be highlighted? So-called “reporters” who can’t even do the most basic research and instead lazily regurgitate press releases from a bunch of PR-addicted bozos. Here, let us do your job for you, you hack:

New aerial images of Apple’s planned NC fuel cell, solar farms published – April 7, 2012
Apple’s massive fuel cell energy project to be largest in the U.S. – April 4, 2012
Apple plans USA’s largest private fuel cell energy project in North Carolina – April 1, 2012
How Apple took the lead on the environment – February 22, 2012
Apple patent application reveals next-gen fuel cell powered Macs and iOS devices – December 22, 2011
Apple’s Mothership campus solar roof will be among biggest in U.S. – December 7, 2011
Apple working with US company, Leaf Solar Power, on North Carolina solar farm – November 8, 2011
Apple patent app details highly-advanced hydrogen fuel cells to power portable devices – October 20, 2011
Apple building huge solar farm around its billion-dollar North Carolina data center – October 26, 2011

Any article that fails to reference the work Apple is doing and the massive expense that Apple is undertaking in order to bring massive fuel cell projects and solar arrays online is either the work of an inept amateur and/or plain old yellow journalism. Consider that a site that goes by the URL is “The Former Homepage of Alexis Madrigal,” and draw your own conclusions.

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic.
His email address is:

Get the real story behind Apple’s environment footprint here


  1. Greenputz and its shills just can’t resist finding SOMETHING to complain about when it comes to Apple. Next thing you know, it’s going to be that Apple’s employees breathe too much oxygen.

    1. They can’t “resist” it because they are not an environmental organization and never have been. That’s like the candy story “cover story” in front of a boiler room run by mob bosses. The truth is that Greenpeace only cares about one type of green. And they want their piece of it. A big piece.

      1. Says who? Show me links. Show some evidence.

        From everything I’ve read, Greenpeace has led the fight to clean up the oceans and some of the most polluted spots on the planet. Like PETA, you might not agree with some of their publicity approaches, but you can’t deny they want to do some good in the world.

        I’m tired of people bashing groups that are trying to IMPROVE things. Or do you think it’s somehow bad to want to clean up the environment and protect natural resources for future generations?

        1. Dear MSM Pawn,

          • Greenpeace names Apple ‘least green’ tech company – April 21, 2011
          • Greenpeace drops Apple to 9th as HP, Samsung advance in ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ – October 26, 2010
          • Greenpeace spotlights links between Apple’s iPad, the Internet, and climate change – March 31, 2010
          • Greenpeace: Apple fails to meet ‘computer detox’ deadline – January 07, 2009
          • BusinessWeek: Apple is greener than Greenpeace says – December 08, 2008
          • Apple’s score plummets as Greenpeace expands ranking criteria in its Guide to Greener Electronics – June 25, 2008
          • Greenpeace intends to ride Apple’s PR coattails for as long as possible – January 18, 2008
          • BusinessWeek: Why Greenpeace repeatedly makes flawed attacks on Apple – October 26, 2007
          • Chemical Industry Group slams Greenpeace over unfair iPhone criticisms – October 22, 2007
          • Greenpeace admits that Apple’s iPhone is fully compliant with Euro chemicals rules – October 16, 2007
          • Apple faces lawsuit based on Greenpeace’s ‘toxic’ iPhone Report – October 15, 2007
          • Greenpeace attacks Apple over ‘hazardous chemicals’ in iPhone – October 15, 2007
          • Apple greener than Greenpeace wants you to think – May 03, 2007
          • Greenpeace ranks Apple dead last in ‘environmental friendliness’ – April 03, 2007
          • EPA does not support Greenpeace’s charges against Apple Computer – January 07, 2007
          • Apple places last in Greenpeace ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ report – December 07, 2006
          • Is Greenpeace lying about Apple’s ‘toxic laptops?’ – September 25, 2006
          • Greenpeace ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ report called ‘misleading and incompetent’ – September 02, 2006
          • Greenpeace criticizes Apple over toxic waste – August 29, 2006

          1. I get it. Greenpeace doesn’t like Apple.

            But it doesn’t make them out to be Greenmailers. Just that Apple is the biggest target in the world right now, and by mentioning them in their press releases, it guarantees them coverage in every paper, blog and radio report around the world.

            Like I said, I don’t like their PR choices, but I can’t argue with what they want to accomplish.

  2. “Some, most notably Google*, have made an effort to reduce the amount of coal that powers their data centers. Others, like Apple, HP, and IBM, have not,”

    This is not true. Apple is already installing fuel cells to power their NC data center, and the fuel cells are powered with natural gas.

  3. Dear Alexis,

    It’s not worth logging into your crappy site, so I’ll just outline my POV here…since I respect it….

    Bias much?

    Apple is only building the largest Fuel Cell and Solar plants ever created for their SE data center. If only Eric were still on Apple’s board, he would have likely copied those plans as well and perhaps Google would then have some slightly broken version of such plants going online late and inefficiently. Alas, he has to steal ideas from new and less innovative sources.

    Good luck ever getting a job as a “real” journalist. Then again, I’d suggest putting in your resume at MSNBC; they seem perfect for you.

    p.s. I like coal, love fracking, and after November, will very much look forward to homegrown energy that keeps us out of foreign wars. Wars that far more adversely affect the environment than does domestic production.

    1. Re rwross:”homegrown energy that keeps us out of foreign wars”

      if you believe our former Republican Supreme Court appointed President, Dubya, we went to war looking for OBL in Afghanistan and WMD in Iraq.

      Bush said of OBL “he can run, but he can’t hide”. Despite this, OBL ran and hid until Seal Team 6 under orders from President Barak Obama ordered his execution. Fail Bush.

      Bush bet the farm that there were WMDs in Iraq despite being assured by experts from the IAEA and UN weapons inspectors that there were no WMDs in the country. We went in , looked desperately for them and found them not. We did manage to spend a trillion dollars and get an awful lot of people killed or maimed.

      Republicans used to always run for Federal office claiming superior ability in national security, foreign relations and economics. In 8 years, Dubya managed to eff up a booming economy into the harshest recession since the Republican Great Depression, destroy our diplomatic relations worldwide, tarnish our reputation with torture and illegal rendition, and start two wars that will have damn near bankrupted our country while accomplishing nothing.

      In case you are too young to remember or maybe just were not paying attention, that is the record and Bush had a Republican House and Senate for his first 6 years in office. Don’t blame it on anybody but the NeoCons.

        1. The Depression started in 1929, Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and entered office in 1933. I have a library card, thanks. You might well try using yours.

            1. Actually, that’s NOT historical fact. It has the ring of truthiness, though, doesn’t it.

              Much like the 2008 collapse of the financial sector, the damage was done under GOP rule, and the then-president didn’t do much to fix it. It took about a year for Roosevelt’s policies to take full effect, and the economy swiftly rebounded gradually throughout his term of office. To say the depression didn’t end until we entered WWII is silly.

              The war stimulus certainly helped (see, government intervention into the economy DOES work, even with borrowed money), but the worst of the worst was long over by the end of the 1930s.

              Here’s a link to some basic facts about the depression and the years 1929-1945:

            2. Listen you historical re-writers, the height and breadth of the Great Depression was 10/29/29 to 12/7/41, during that period, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a democrat, was the United States president 88% of its duration.

            3. @ kaplanmike wrote: “…economy swiftly rebounded gradually throughout his term of office.”

              Um, How does something swiftly rebound gradually? Or did you mean that it gradually rebounded swiftly? I’m confused by your semantics.

            4. 1929 – Hoover – Unemployment: 3.14%
              1930 – Hoover – Unemployment: 8.67%
              1931 – Hoover – Unemployment: 15.82%
              1932 – Hoover – Unemployment: 23.53%
              1933 – FDR – Unemployment: 24.75%
              1934 – FDR – Unemployment: 21.60%
              1935 – FDR – Unemployment: 19.97%
              1936 – FDR – Unemployment: 16.80%
              1937 – FDR – Unemployment: 14.18%
              1938 – FDR – Unemployment: 18.91%
              1939 – FDR – Unemployment: 17.05%
              1940 – FDR – Unemployment: 14.45%
              1941 – FDR – Unemployment: 9.66%


              Read the link again:
              YEAR GNP Growth
              1930 -9.4%
              1931 -8.5%
              1932 -13.4%
              1933 -2.1% (FDR takes office)
              1934 +7.7%
              1935 +8.1%
              1936 +14.1%
              1937 +5.0%
              1938 -4.5%
              1939 +7.9%

              By the way, there was a recession from May 1937 to June 1938. The GOP scored some gains during the 1936 elections, and they forced FDR to cut back on stimulus spending. The economy almost immediately tanked. It wasn’t until Democrat gains in the midterm elections of 1938 that FDR was able to restore federal funding to about 10 percent of GNP, and the economy again began to improve.

              Technically, the Depression actually peaked early in 1933, when the unemployment rate peaked at 24.9 percent. In 1930, early in the Depression, when Hoover did NOTHING to fix the problems, the unemployment rate was only 8.7 percent.

            6. “but the worst of the worst was long over by the end of the 1930s….”

              1938 – FDR – Unemployment: 18.91%
              1939 – FDR – Unemployment: 17.05%
              1940 – FDR – Unemployment: 14.45%

              lol, the worst was over? you’re an idiot too, Kap.

            7. “Much like the 2008 collapse of the financial sector, the damage was done under GOP rule,”

              This is what I love about revisionist. They know just enough to point fingers.

              Democrats were in charge of Congress from 2006-2010.
              The entire collapse was based on the fraud housing market set up by Democrats in the 90’s.

              Bush was trying to manage a war and keep the economy going.
              Obama can’t do one GD thing right.

              Unbelievable what people choose to think just to justify their ‘team’.

            8. The GNP is no measure of the tragedy and suffering of The Great Depression, only the unemployment rate was (and is)…ask any survivor of that era whether they gave a rat’s ass about the GNP or if they cared whether there was a breadwinner in the family.

            9. The Depression started in 1929 under Republican Herbert Hoover, the 3rd Republican President in a row who served with a Republican Congress. How about that for a historical fact.

              Hoover did what Republicans always do- nothing of value or the wrong thing and cut taxes and spending. The Depression worsened and Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and assumed office in March 1933 with a Democratic Congress, which enacted the bulk of the New Deal.

              Things began to slowly get better and then the Republicans had their usual fit of incoherent rage- demanding budget austerity. Roosevelt acceded in part only to see things regress- although not as bad as before.

              The cardboard slums of homeless men were named Hoovervilles in honor of the man who did nothing while the economy crashed and burned- Republican Herbert Hoover.

            10. I can see you are set in your opinion and are unable/unwilling to consider any other, but here is the wrap up:
              1- The Great Depression began under a Republican President & Congress. The Republicans had been in charge since the end of the Wilson Administration over a decade before.
              1- The Hoover Administration & Republican Congress was totally ineffective acting against the declining economy- cutting spending and taxes (Sound familiar?) even as unemployment, credit and purchasing got continually worse.
              2- Roosevelt assumed office in March 1933 and during the first 3 1/2 months enacted the bulk of the New Deal. For those playing along at home, that would put the calendar at June 1933 before any of Roosevelt’s programs were enacted- at minimum. Just like with Obama taking over from Bush, the bottom happened during the first 6 months of the Democrat succeeding the Republican’s administration. Things moved upward from that point.
              3- The only slump from then until the end of the Depression was after the 1936 election when Republicans regained some seats and forced a reduction in the stimulus to the economy. This caused a retrenchment in the economy.

              Lesson- Republicans are as abysmal in their understanding of economics as they ever have been. Just like in foreign affairs & national security they claim to be better, but the record shows otherwise.

            11. it is not my opinion, it is a matter of historical fact, I never stated that the Depression didn’t start under the last year of Hoover’s term, I stated (several times) that the breadth and depth of the Great Depression was under the FDR administration, a democrat. Please learn to fucking read.

            12. Your statement was made in such a way as is commonly used by NeoCons to deny Republican involvement with the Great Depression. It matters not under whom the majority of the recovery existed- but who was at the wheel when the iceberg was hit.

            13. From end of October, 1929 to beginning of December,1941: Hoover was president 27 months, Franklin Roosevelt was president 106 months…FDR had The Great Depression solved for him by the Japanese…simply draft your workforce into a war and the unemployment rate drops dramatically.

      1. @progressive douche bag:

        I am not a Republican nor a Democrat, but your crazy assed biases render your opinion so beyond the pale as to make rebuttal all but pointless.

        Clearly your love affair with our current President has blinded you to his massive escalation in Afghanistan and an undeclared war in Libya. Why did the US go into Libya when but not Syria or Rwanda even though both these latter countries have far more human atrocities being committed? One word. Oil.

        So, take your meds and get that Bush derangement syndrome in check, blinky. He’s not the president anymore…your guy is. And he’s clearly incompetent.

        More oil, gas, and coal production at home means we can keep our noses out of their millennial long efforts to kill each other.

        1. 1st, I didn’t vote for Obama as I feared, correctly, that he is Republican Lite- a DINO. So don’t lay your hatred at my feet.

          2nd, Bush & Cronies denied that it was about oil. Yes, I know they lied- it’s the Republican way.

          3rd, when the fracking has destroyed all the drinking water supply will you be enjoying all your made in the USA energy?

  4. On MDN Take… That’s all true… but they didn’t make these changes YESTERDAY, and they haven’t single-handedly transformed the condition of workers throughout China, so they are very, very bad.

  5. C’mon MDN! You know isn’t fair to the rest of us that Apple uses coal when they have enough money in the bank to convert all their facilities worldwide to ultraslow carbon footprint facilities. Nor can we trust a company who hides away $100B in the bank without bringing jobs home to the USA.

  6. If these “environmentalists” would just go back to their science books, they would realize that to offset the greenhouse gases, all they would need to do is PLANT MORE TREES! As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a bunch of ultra-maroons!”.

    1. But doing things like trying to stop deforestation and reclaiming/ replanting and caring for new trees would be expensive, and not only would that reduce a special kind of green footprint, it wouldn’t be as commercially visible or viable as the publicity generated by bitching about Apple.

  7. This is great news. Coal is the most dependable and least expensive source of electricity we have available today. No need to waste shareholder value on anything else unless something else can beat coal on coast and dependability. The Bloom Energy boxes could be a source of long-term cost savings for Apple too.

  8. Re MDN Take:
    When you fly electronics and components all over the world by jet aircraft your footprint is most definitely NOT green. The ability to custom order an engraved iToy days before Christmas and have it delivered to your abode in Opossum Gulch, Arizona is an amazing feat of logistics that represents the beating our environment is taking from globalization.

    The whole globalization economic model is unsustainable both environmentally and economically. Cannot put a time stamp on when the music stops, but the clock is definitely running.

    Until Apple moves to a regional or local assembly model it’s business cannot be considered green despite one really nice green data center.

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