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31 March 2010

Greenpeace issues warning about data centre power

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Greenpeace is calling on technology giants like Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook to power their data centres with renewable energy sources

Their electricity often comes from utility companies which generate power from burning coal, says the group. Greenpeace estimates that data centres will use 1,963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020.

That is more than the power currently consumed by France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined, says the campaigner.

"Growth in the IT industry is leading to a fast growing carbon footprint," Tom Dowdall, greener electronics campaign coordinator at Greenpeace, told BBC News.

With the launch of portable online devices such as smartphones, netbooks and the imminent release of Apple's iPad, cloud computing is becoming mainstream, said Mr Dowdall. It means more data is being stored remotely on servers owned by the technology companies, so that it can be accessed from wherever the user has an internet connection.

So firms are investing in building massive data centres to cope with the demand, and focusing on energy efficiency rather than tackling the original source of power, claims Greenpeace.

(BBC News)

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