"The IT industry points to cloud computing as the new, green model for our IT infrastructure needs, but few companies provide data that would allow us to objectively evaluate these claims," Greenpeace says.
Greenpeace argues that big Internet firms should locate their data centers where the local utility companies are producing renewable energy, in order to reduce their carbon footprint and encourage further investments in renewables.
It also credits Google for its efforts, however.
"Of the 10 brands graded, Akamai, a global content distribution network, earned top-of-the-class recognition for transparency; Yahoo had the strongest infrastructure siting policy; Google and IBM demonstrated the most comprehensive overall approach to reduce its carbon footprint to date," Greenpeace said.
Google, in its white paper, suggests running a data center on renewable energy is more complicated than Greenpeace implies.
"We know from Kirchoff's circuit laws that electricity generated in one spot cannot be directed to a specific user over the electricity grid," Google said. "Once you put electricity on the grid there is no actual way to say 'the energy from wind farm X is going to my data center Y.'"
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