Eco-campaigners at Greenpeace have criticised the idea of an internet 'cloud' - with data centres built by the likes of Facebook, Apple, Google and others still largely powered by coal.
Greenpeace releases a new report this week that notes how a Facebook facility being built in Oregon will rely on a coal-fuelled power station, while Apple is building a new data warehouse in a North Carolina region that also relies mostly on coal.
"The last thing we need is for more cloud infrastructure to be built in places where it increases demand for dirty coal-fired power," said Greenpeace in the new report..
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Coal is number one
Coal is still the number one fuel for US power plants, and Greenpeace wants to highlight the fact that Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google all have at data centres that still rely heavily on coal power.
Data centre energy use is huge already and is growing rapidly, according to Greenpeace, with the organisation predicting that the cloud is set to be the fastest-growing facet of tech infrastructure over the next ten years.
If considered as a country, global telecommunications and data centres behind cloud computing would have ranked fifth in the world for energy use in 2007, behind the US, China, Russia and Japan, says the new report.