Tech titans graded in green energy friendliness

HOUSTON — Apple and Facebook won near-perfect grades in a new rating of tech giants’ clean energy friendliness, while Twitter and Amazon failed on almost every measure.

Environmental advocacy group Greepeace issued a report this week grading tech and social media companies on their commitment to minimizing fossil fuels used to power their data centers and operations. The organization rated each company on four measures: renewable energy use and advocacy, energy efficiency and fossil fuel mitigation, renewable energy commitment and infrastructure siting, and energy transparency.

Greenpeace applauded Apple and Facebook as the industry’s leaders in clean energy commitment, with each earning three As and one B on the grading system. The group noted Apple’s effort to power its iCloud content storage service completely with renewable energy, building a massive solar farm at its North Carolina data center and using wind and geothermal to power other facilities.

Google scored three Bs, with one A in renewable energy use and advocacy. The tech monolith has announced a flurry of deals for renewable power in recent years, including buying the future output of a planned 240-megawatt wind farm in North Texas.

“Google has continued to lead the the major internet brands in purchasing renewable energy at a scale to power its massive online ecosystem,” Greenpeace wrote. “Google’s use of power purchase agreements to procure clean energy has been adopted by others in the sector, like Microsoft, and it has successfully influenced utilities in Oklahoma and North Carolina to offer new renewable energy options by using its immense business clout.”

Twitter, however, failed on all measures except renewable energy commitment and infrastructure citing, in which it earned a D. Greenpeace penalized the social media company for its lack of transparency, saying it provided no information about its energy footprint.

Amazon Web Services which failed in three catagories and received a D in energy efficiency and mitigation strategy, was chided for a similar reason.

“AWS has dropped further and further behind its competitors in building an internet that runs on renewable sources of energy, estimated at only 15 percent, and is the least transparent of any company we evaluated,”Greenpeace wrote.