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Apple datacenters the most environmentally friendly in tech, says Greenpeace

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Apple is "the most innovative and most aggressive" company in Silicon Valley when it comes to identifying ways to feed its power-hungry datacenters with renewable energy, according to a new report from environmental watchdog Greenpeace.

The solar cell installation at Apple's Maiden, NC datacenter. | Source: Apple
The solar cell installation at Apple's Maiden, NC datacenter. | Source: Apple


The iPhone maker scored an 'A' for energy transparency, commitment to renewable energy, and deployment thanks in large part to the fuel cell installation and solar farm at its datacenter in Maiden, N.C. Apple recorded a 'B' in the sole remaining category, energy efficiency and mitigation.

Greenpeace praised Apple for helping pressure local utilities to begin offering renewable options for buying energy, still a rarity even as environmental consciousness grows among consumers. All of the electricity not generated by Apple for its datacenters is purchased from through utilities from renewable sources, including geothermal plants for its newest location in Nevada and wind energy in California and Oregon.

"Apple's aggressive pursuit of its commitment to power the iCloud with 100% renewable energy has given the company the inside track among the IT sector's leaders in building a green Internet," Greenpeace wrote. "Apple has made good on its pledge by building the largest privately owned solar farms at its North Carolina data center, working with its utility in Nevada to power its upcoming data center there with solar and geothermal energy, and purchasing wind energy for its Oregon and California data centers."




Apple has improved its standing with Greenpeace significantly since the organization's last datacenter energy report in 2012. At that time, Apple was panned for relying largely on fossil fuels for power, scoring Ds and Fs in every category.

The company still has some room to improve in Greenpeace's eyes, however. The organization would like to see Apple contribute some of its energy findings back to the tech industry as a whole, saying that "sharing more detail about Apple's energy efficient designs would help the IT sector to learn from, and improve upon, Apple's best efficiency practices."
post #2 of 40
Please correct me, but someone at Microsoft told me that Apple's iCloud is making use of the Azure servers?

So I am a bit surprised that Apple got such a high ranking. Which I would be genuinely happy about if true.
post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

Please correct me, but someone at Microsoft told me that Apple's iCloud is making use of the Azure servers?

So I am a bit surprised that Apple got such a high ranking. Which I would be genuinely happy about if true.

 

It is not accurate to say that iCloud is running on Azure, because its not.  Apple has its own cloud built on infrastructure sourced from the worlds leading vendors.  Thats not to say that there isn't some piece of functionality somewhere at Apple that is using Azure, but its hardly worthy of a claim-to-fame for Microsoft.

post #4 of 40
Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.
post #5 of 40
Where is IBM/Softlayer, Nevermind.
post #6 of 40
Wow! I hadn't realized how far ahead of everyone they were which explains why Greenpeace would actually praise Apple.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

Please correct me, but someone at Microsoft told me that Apple's iCloud is making use of the Azure servers?

So I am a bit surprised that Apple got such a high ranking. Which I would be genuinely happy about if true.


Besides what @TNSF stated, it's not fair to pile any of Apple's services onto another company's use of equipment and electricity simply because it happens to traverse it. If that were the case then even checking your email would then require knowing every ISP router, switch, etc. as well how your your router, switch and local device get their power.

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post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Interestingly there is now a fairly large segment of the environmentalist movement that is taking a second look at nuclear. It is clear to anyone who thinks about it that fossil fuels are not going away anytime soon. There will never be enough solar panels, or windmills, or fuel cells to power modern society. They simply don’t scale up and will always be add ons or backups to fossil fuel power plants. That’s where the nuclear option becomes the lesser of two evils option. Nuclear has its own set of risks and problems but, if designed and constructed to rigid guidelines, the risk can be dealt with. Nuclear doesn’t release greenhouse gases or air pollutants unless something goes wrong. Nuclear waste is the main issue and there will need to be new and innovative ideas on how to deal with that. Unfortunately the public has been  scared into paranoia about the nuclear option by the same environmentalists who are now taking that second look. 

post #8 of 40
What Greenpeace is now on apple side, what did global warming finally arrive and the US is covered in the Glacier again.

I think their chart would be better if they showed nuclear as green, don't things that have been radiated glow green and Clean renewable should be blue to represent clear skies, also since solar panels only work in clear skies.

there is no way to know how these companies get their power, unless they see their actual electric bill which Apple does not share no company share that information, it maybe self disclosed in a 10K or something similar bit greenpeace as usual is guessing at the numbers.
Edited by Maestro64 - 4/2/14 at 10:12am
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Yeah!  Tell it to Fukushima and Chernobyl.

post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

...also since solar panels only work in clear skies there is no way to know how these companies get their power, unless they see their actual electric bill which Apple does not share no company share that information, it maybe self disclosed in a 10K or something similar bit greenpeace as usual is guessing at the numbers.

The first grade indicates energy transparency. I have no idea to what degree they expect companies to be transparent about their energy use but there are several A's on the list.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

Please correct me, but someone at Microsoft told me that Apple's iCloud is making use of the Azure servers?

So I am a bit surprised that Apple got such a high ranking. Which I would be genuinely happy about if true.

You aren't correct *anymore*.

When iCloud was starting up the data servers weren't operational yet so Apple needed to outsource to other data centers.

This ended some time last year after both of its data centers, operating on 100% sustainable electricity, were fully online.

post #12 of 40

Google has a data center near here that sources all its power from a coal power plant, but they claim to buy "credits" from a wind farm hundreds of miles away, so that somehow makes them green?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Tell that to the people who lived near the Fukushima power plant.  You know, the ones who can never go back to their homes?

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr O View Post

Please correct me, but someone at Microsoft told me that Apple's iCloud is making use of the Azure servers?

So I am a bit surprised that Apple got such a high ranking. Which I would be genuinely happy about if true.

 

Did they also tell you most of Microsoft web servers used to run *nix instead of Windows/IIS?  Because that used to be true, too, but hasn't been for a few years now either...

 

You might want to fact check your Microsofties a little more closely in the future.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

Reply
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Tell that to the people who lived near the Fukushima power plant.  You know, the ones who can never go back to their homes?

That's because Fukusima was 40 years old. That's like having our roads populated by Ford Pintos and claiming that Teslas as bad (OK.... an occasional one does catch fire.... :D)

 

3rd ten nukes are incredibly safe, and yes, clean.

post #15 of 40

Wow. Tim Cook certainly seems to have done one thing that SJ could not do (not that it matters to me, but it's worth noting): He sure brought Greenpeace around!

post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Yeah!  Tell it to Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Chernobyl is the only serious nuclear power plant disaster we've had in almost three-quarters of a century of nuclear power. The reasons for that were incredibly poor, unsafe design under Communism.

 

There is not a single death attributable to radiation from Fukushima.

 

Unfortunately, other than for hydro, nuclear is currently (no pun intended) the only source of reliable, baseload CO2-free power.

post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Chernobyl is the only serious nuclear power plant disaster we've had in almost three-quarters of a century of nuclear power. The reasons for that were incredibly poor, unsafe design under Communism.

There is not a single death attributable to radiation from Fukushima.

Unfortunately, other than for hydro, nuclear is currently (no pun intended) the only source of reliable, baseload CO2-free power.

1) Three Mile Island doesn't count?

2) I agree that nuclear is safe but compared to solar and wind it does have the potential for something to go terribly wrong that can affect the lives of millions in a given area and be an issue for a long time. Then there is the disposal of spent rods compared to the disposal of a damaged solar panel or wind turbine. For this reason I think that potential should be taken into account when talking about overall safety.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

Chernobyl is the only serious nuclear power plant disaster we've had in almost three-quarters of a century of nuclear power. The reasons for that were incredibly poor, unsafe design under Communism.

 

There is not a single death attributable to radiation from Fukushima.

 

Unfortunately, other than for hydro, nuclear is currently (no pun intended) the only source of reliable, baseload CO2-free power.

 

The problem is nuclear power proponents have always declared them all to be safe until they aren't.  That's because nuclear disasters are all black swan events, or one of those famous 'unknown unknowns'.   I'm not a knee-jerk anti nuke but I have the uneasy feeling that risk management models being used by the industry are faulty.  When event probabilities are vanishingly small but the costs of an adverse outcome are very, very large, calculations of expected benefits or costs get screwy, a natural result of playing around with zero and infinity.

 

If we are going whole hog into nuclear power, I don't trust proponents who say 'there will be no more Chernobyls'.  And then, 'there will be no more Fukushimas', after that.  I prefer we go into it with the mindset that another nuclear accident is inevitable and thus make sure that the infrastructure and systems needed to cope with said accident are in place and properly trained, maintained, and updated.  This would also mean no nuclear plants on fault lines, next to the oceans, downwind of highly populated areas and valuable natural habitats, and in third world countries (because they cannot cope with a nuclear accident).  Also, before any major nuclear power build up, a major energy conservation effort (especially in the US!) to drastically reduce the demand for electricity.

 

Assuming somebody has fixed the nuclear waste disposal problem in the first place.

post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) Three Mile Island doesn't count?

2) I agree that nuclear is safe but compared to solar and wind it does have the potential for something to go terribly wrong that can affect the lives of millions in a given area and be an issue for a long time. Then there is the disposal of spent rods compared to the disposal of a damaged solar panel or wind turbine. For this reason I think that potential should be taken into account when talking about overall safety.

1) Absolutely not. TMI was a non-event. Period. Those are the facts.

 

2) Solar is an incredibly dirty, toxic technology to produce. We feel virtuous putting up our PV panels, but all the filth has been outsourced to places like China. But more important, both wind and solar suffer from intermittence: the only honest way to compare these two with nuclear is to add the cost of storage (even without which, the cost of energy from those two are substantially higher than for nuclear). On top of that, they are not easily scaleable (and even if they were, there are huge land-use implications). Under the most of optimistic of forecasts for the next few decades (see, e.g., the most recent report from the most widely-accepted source for energy forecasts, the EIA: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/index.cfm), these two will be nowhere close to meeting our energy needs. Perhaps they'll get to about one-eighth by 2040 (from about one-twelfth today).

 

That said, I am not a fan of plutonium/uranium-based nuclear. I truly wish the world would aggressively move towards thorium (see, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/THORIUM-energy-cheaper-than-coal/dp/1478161299). But that's a longer debate....

post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

1) Absolutely not. TMI was a non-event. Period. Those are the facts.

2) Solar is an incredibly dirty, toxic technology to produce. We feel virtuous putting up our PV panels, but all the filth has been outsourced to places like China. But more important, both wind and solar suffer from intermittence: the only honest way to compare these two with nuclear is to add the cost of storage (even without which, the cost of energy from those two are substantially higher than for nuclear). On top of that, they are not easily scaleable (and even if they were, there are huge land-use implications). Under the most of optimistic of forecasts for the next few decades (see, e.g., the most recent report from the most widely-accepted source for energy forecasts, the EIA: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/index.cfm), these two will be nowhere close to meeting our energy needs. Perhaps they'll get to about one-eighth by 2040 (from about one-twelfth today).

That said, I am not a fan of plutonium/uranium-based nuclear. I truly wish the world would aggressively move towards thorium (see, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/THORIUM-energy-cheaper-than-coal/dp/1478161299). But that's a longer debate....

Thanks for the reply. I'll have to read up on 3MI to find out more about it. I was very young when it occurred so my knowledge of its history is only the sensational aspects that seems to linger.


PS: What is the difference in half-life of sensationalism v actual news.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
 

The problem is nuclear power proponents have always declared them all to be safe until they aren't.  That's because nuclear disasters are all black swan events, or one of those famous 'unknown unknowns'.   I'm not a knee-jerk anti nuke but I have the uneasy feeling that risk management models being used by the industry are faulty.  When event probabilities are vanishingly small but the costs of an adverse outcome are very, very large, calculations of expected benefits or costs get screwy, a natural result of playing around with zero and infinity.

 

If we are going whole hog into nuclear power, I don't trust proponents who say 'there will be no more Chernobyls'.  And then, 'there will be no more Fukushimas', after that.  I prefer we go into it with the mindset that another nuclear accident is inevitable and thus make sure that the infrastructure and systems needed to cope with said accident are in place and properly trained, maintained, and updated.  This would also mean no nuclear plants on fault lines, next to the oceans, downwind of highly populated areas and valuable natural habitats, and in third world countries (because they cannot cope with a nuclear accident).  Also, before any major nuclear power build up, a major energy conservation effort (especially in the US!).

 

Assuming somebody has fixed the nuclear waste disposal problem in the first place.

I agree with your points. But you're conflating with what we have in place (ridiculously ancient, zeroth generation technology, often poorly risk-managed) with what we could be replacing it with: as I said earlier, it's like suggesting we should jettison automobiles altogether because our roads are populated with Ford Pintos, when we have Teslas available.

 

Nuclear technology -- esp. with the passive safety features of 3rd and 3.5th generation, not to mention some of the fabulous fourth generation tech that is perhaps a decade away) -- has come a very long way.

 

In fact, I worry that, in a country like the US, we're sitting on 100+ first gen nuclear reactors, each a potential Fukushima waiting to happen. (People don't realize that 25% of US's electricity currently comes from these aging behemoths, that we have 25% of the world's nuclear reactors, the largest number of any country on earth.)

 

It's potentially a phenomenal opportunity -- for employment creation, infrastructure upgrades, GHG abatement, massive value-creation in upstream and downstream businesses -- for the US to convert these 100+ into 3.5 (or higher) gen over the next couple of decades. Each one costs $5B - $10B to build, and takes 8 - 10 years from groud-breaking to produce the first kWh of electricity. In other words, we should be starting now if we want our power by 2025.

 

Note that I am not even talking about adding any new nuclear capacity in countries like the US. If ours start to fail -- as they will, and hopefully, with less impact than even Fukushima -- I can assure you that we do not have a Plan B, except for coal and natural gas.

 

At least, it's worth having that debate about the type of energy policy we need as a country.

 

Add: Disposal is currently an issue. But safe reprocessing-on-site is the genius of emerging 4th gen technologies. See, for example, what this company, TerraPower (in which, Bill Gates is a huge investor) does: http://terrapower.com. You might be amazed to know that we currently throw away nuclear rods after just 0.8% of the energy is extracted from the rods! 


Edited by anantksundaram - 4/2/14 at 1:32pm
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Screw Greenpeace.
Nukes are clean energy.

 

Interestingly there is now a fairly large segment of the environmentalist movement that is taking a second look at nuclear. It is clear to anyone who thinks about it that fossil fuels are not going away anytime soon. There will never be enough solar panels, or windmills, or fuel cells to power modern society. They simply don’t scale up and will always be add ons or backups to fossil fuel power plants. That’s where the nuclear option becomes the lesser of two evils option. Nuclear has its own set of risks and problems but, if designed and constructed to rigid guidelines, the risk can be dealt with. Nuclear doesn’t release greenhouse gases or air pollutants unless something goes wrong. Nuclear waste is the main issue and there will need to be new and innovative ideas on how to deal with that. Unfortunately the public has been  scared into paranoia about the nuclear option by the same environmentalists who are now taking that second look. 

 

Agreed, nuclear is clean energy. Nuclear waste already has a few existing techniques like vitrification and ceramic encapsulation, then buried a few thousand feet in geologically stable sites, the French have been doing this for decades and 75% of their electricity is nuclear, they even process spent fuel from the US. Of course more innovative ideas are always welcome. Nuclear does has its risks but like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed. The soviets built their reactors with no containment whatsoever using unreliable cooling systems pushed to their limits by some ambitious pseudo-scientist’s brazen experiment. Fukushima was built only feet away from a tsunami prone seaside with no protection of the protection equipment and no contingency plan.

 

The public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option. Every serious fossil fuel accident and their victims are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Not many mourn for long the human losses in coal mines or ecological disasters by oil spills, but when it’s nuclear, even with no loss of life, you never hear the end of it. People lose their sense of context. Tens of thousands of people died at Fukushima and surrounding area from the tsunami … yeah, that’s too bad … and soon forgotten, but not the nuclear incident. Of course there’s a lot of land that is now inhabitable by humans, but probably less area than some of those large coal mines, and humans can’t really live comfortably underwater in those immense hydro reservoirs, we’re not getting that space back either.

post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

I agree with your points. But you're conflating with what we have in place (ridiculously ancient, zeroth generation technology, often poorly risk-managed) with what we could be replacing it with: as I said earlier, it's like suggesting we should jettison automobiles altogether because our roads are populated with Ford Pintos, when we have Teslas available.

 

. . .   .

 

Add: Disposal is currently an issue. But safe reprocessing-on-site is the genius of emerging 4th gen technologies. See, for example, what this company, TerraPower (in which, Bill Gates is a huge investor) does: http://terrapower.com. You might be amazed to know that we currently throw away nuclear rods after just 0.8% of the energy is extracted from the rods! 

 

Well actually, following your simile, I'm saying let's make sure Tesla can do what Tesla's manufacturer claims it can do first before we buy thousands of them.

 

As to disposal, I am a little familiar with developments on that front and the promise they hold out is amazing, or potentially amazing.  But let's move them from potential to actual first before we start building hundreds of new nuclear plants.

 

Bottomline, society has to do a brutally honest cost benefit analysis of the alternative energy policies, fully aware that there is no perfect solution and all the alternatives have their very sobering downsides.

post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post
 

 

Agreed, nuclear is clean energy. Nuclear waste already has a few existing techniques like vitrification and ceramic encapsulation, then buried a few thousand feet in geologically stable sites, the French have been doing this for decades and 75% of their electricity is nuclear, they even process spent fuel from the US. Of course more innovative ideas are always welcome. Nuclear does has its risks but like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed. The soviets built their reactors with no containment whatsoever using unreliable cooling systems pushed to their limits by some ambitious pseudo-scientist’s brazen experiment. Fukushima was built only feet away from a tsunami prone seaside with no protection of the protection equipment and no contingency plan.

 

The public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option. Every serious fossil fuel accident and their victims are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Not many mourn for long the human losses in coal mines or ecological disasters by oil spills, but when it’s nuclear, even with no loss of life, you never hear the end of it. People lose their sense of context. Tens of thousands of people died at Fukushima and surrounding area from the tsunami … yeah, that’s too bad … and soon forgotten, but not the nuclear incident. Of course there’s a lot of land that is now inhabitable by humans, but probably less area than some of those large coal mines, and humans can’t really live comfortably underwater in those immense hydro reservoirs, we’re not getting that space back either.

 

If you think you can convince detractors with a declaration that "Nuclear is clean energy", you are going about it the wrong way.  Doesn't matter if what you say is true or not, a lot of people will just see that as a preposterous statement.  At face value most people will see it as false, unless you can stand next to an unshielded reactor with no consequences.

 

Also the 'safe if not for incompetency and greed' excuse is not going to fly.  Incompetency and greed has been and will always be with us and you need to lay out how nuclear power is relatively (not absolutely) safe despite incompetency and greed.  If you say 'nuclear power is safe once we eliminate incompetency and greed', then you've lost the argument from the get go.

 

And don't say 'no one has died from the Fukushima accident'.  That news story is ongoing and will be ongoing for the next thirty plus years.  We all know of the cancer cases due to radiation exposure in Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the human guinea pigs early in the US nuclear weapons program.

post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

1) Three Mile Island doesn't count?

2) I agree that nuclear is safe but compared to solar and wind it does have the potential for something to go terribly wrong that can affect the lives of millions in a given area and be an issue for a long time. Then there is the disposal of spent rods compared to the disposal of a damaged solar panel or wind turbine. For this reason I think that potential should be taken into account when talking about overall safety.

1) Absolutely not. TMI was a non-event. Period. Those are the facts.

 

2) Solar is an incredibly dirty, toxic technology to produce. We feel virtuous putting up our PV panels, but all the filth has been outsourced to places like China. But more important, both wind and solar suffer from intermittence: the only honest way to compare these two with nuclear is to add the cost of storage (even without which, the cost of energy from those two are substantially higher than for nuclear). On top of that, they are not easily scaleable (and even if they were, there are huge land-use implications). Under the most of optimistic of forecasts for the next few decades (see, e.g., the most recent report from the most widely-accepted source for energy forecasts, the EIA: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/index.cfm), these two will be nowhere close to meeting our energy needs. Perhaps they'll get to about one-eighth by 2040 (from about one-twelfth today).

 

That said, I am not a fan of plutonium/uranium-based nuclear. I truly wish the world would aggressively move towards thorium (see, e.g., http://www.amazon.com/THORIUM-energy-cheaper-than-coal/dp/1478161299). But that's a longer debate....

 

1) Agreed.

 

2) Photovoltaic solar is indeed dirty, but it also uses essentially the same toxic technology as the whole microelectronics industry. Solar thermal is clean of course for small households but you need larger installations for electricity generation. People also forget that hydro requires an ecological disaster to be willfully constructed well before the first watt produced. Of course where flood control was the first goal of some dams, like Hoover or Aswan or even Three Gorges to some extent, electrical generation comes as a bonus. Unfortunately the benefit is only downstream, the upstream flooding of enormous areas destroys all flora and fauna as well as century old cultural treasures and sometimes large population displacements. In my opinion only relatively non invasive hydro technology such as underwater turbines using river or ocean currents or tidal power can be called clean energy.

 

3) I am not a big fan of uranium based nuclear although plutonium reactors would at least get rid of some plutonium but even the French stopped developing fast breeder reactor technology with only 1 Phénix still in operation. That said, I also wish they would divert most of the money from fusion to thorium, much closer it would seem and with seemingly far less exotic materials and technology. They should still continue fusion research as this is the ultimate long-term solution. Thorium has been under developed for too long and needs to be brought to the forefront now. Maybe there’s some hope yet after getting the attention from even the unlikely source of former-evil-dictator-turned-converted-philanthropist Bill Gates.

post #26 of 40

Kudos to Apple for recognising the significance of renewable energy and environmentally-friendly processes.

 

I wonder how much the cost of building this capacity and integrating it into the company's operations impacts the end-price of Apple's products.  That is to say, we often hear detractors talking about the "brand premium"; no doubt there is truth in that, but there must be an enormous cost to establish the change that Apple has put in place and that must surely impact the unit price of their products.

 

There is some sense in which, when we are buying these products, we are quite literally buying into the entire supply chain itself.  It's interesting to me, because there are some industries where this is widely understood now by consumers (especially things like fair trade coffee, or cosmetics that are not tested on animals, and so on).  I just wonder how widely this is recognised in terms of consumer technology.

post #27 of 40

Screw Greenpeace and whatever they think. Anyone still cares about them?

 

Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Yeah!  Tell it to Fukushima and Chernobyl.

 

Under that criteria, no energy is clean.

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post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

 

Well actually, following your simile, I'm saying let's make sure Tesla can do what Tesla's manufacturer claims it can do first before we buy thousands of them.

We're already buying thousands. Many thousands. Tesla will end the year with at least 20,000 cars sold.

 

If we waited for every major technology to dot every "i" and cross every "t", nothing new will ever emerge. We'd still be using the older, dirtier, less efficient, more expensive versions of all types of technology.

post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post
 

Agreed, nuclear is clean energy. Nuclear waste already has a few existing techniques like vitrification and ceramic encapsulation, then buried a few thousand feet in geologically stable sites, the French have been doing this for decades and 75% of their electricity is nuclear, they even process spent fuel from the US. Of course more innovative ideas are always welcome. Nuclear does has its risks but like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed. The soviets built their reactors with no containment whatsoever using unreliable cooling systems pushed to their limits by some ambitious pseudo-scientist’s brazen experiment. Fukushima was built only feet away from a tsunami prone seaside with no protection of the protection equipment and no contingency plan.

 

The public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option. Every serious fossil fuel accident and their victims are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Not many mourn for long the human losses in coal mines or ecological disasters by oil spills, but when it’s nuclear, even with no loss of life, you never hear the end of it. People lose their sense of context. Tens of thousands of people died at Fukushima and surrounding area from the tsunami … yeah, that’s too bad … and soon forgotten, but not the nuclear incident. Of course there’s a lot of land that is now inhabitable by humans, but probably less area than some of those large coal mines, and humans can’t really live comfortably underwater in those immense hydro reservoirs, we’re not getting that space back either.

 

If you think you can convince detractors with a declaration that "Nuclear is clean energy", you are going about it the wrong way.  Doesn't matter if what you say is true or not, a lot of people will just see that as a preposterous statement.  At face value most people will see it as false, unless you can stand next to an unshielded reactor with no consequences.

 

Also the 'safe if not for incompetency and greed' excuse is not going to fly.  Incompetency and greed has been and will always be with us and you need to lay out how nuclear power is relatively (not absolutely) safe despite incompetency and greed.  If you say 'nuclear power is safe once we eliminate incompetency and greed', then you've lost the argument from the get go.

 

And don't say 'no one has died from the Fukushima accident'.  That news story is ongoing and will be ongoing for the next thirty plus years.  We all know of the cancer cases due to radiation exposure in Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the human guinea pigs early in the US nuclear weapons program.

 

I agree wholeheartedly that detractors will not be convinced that “nuclear is clean energy”, as I pointed out that the “public has indeed been scared into paranoia about the nuclear option”. I wasn’t trying to “convince detractors”, as I have had this discussion many times and it rarely changes people’s mind. I was simply stating a fact that in its normal operation nuclear energy is indeed a very clean source, an irrefutable fact that gets lost in any nuclear discussion, as does the fact that the waste issue has been solved by the French decades ago as I've previously mentioned, they had to, 75% of their electricity is nuclear. It’s a visceral fear that stems from the invisible nature of radiation and that you can’t run away from it, I understand that. Radiation has always been rightfully feared because it’s a silent killer, it even ultimately killed its first serious researcher Marie Curie after years of exposure. I think it also stems from the fact that most people learned of its existence from its very first use, in anger, at Hiroshima, even though it killed a lot less victims than most of the massive napalm fueled firestorms unleashed just a few months prior in many major Japanese and German cities. The difference is that you can see fire and maybe you could be one of the lucky ones that can run away from its slow advance, but you have no chance against the initial intense heat and shockwave of a nuclear detonation. I think there were even more people burned by napalm than nuclear radiation and subsequently died of their wounds, but all you saw in newsreels were radiation victims. It’s scary, I get that, it's a ray gun versus a bullet firing pistol. It’s worse than just the devil you don’t know, it’s the devil you can’t even see.

 

I certainly wouldn’t “stand next to an unshielded reactor” because, well, that’s just a “preposterous statement”, as silly as you standing in front of the focal mirror of a solar concentrator or in the path of the blade of a wind turbine “with no consequences”. You wouldn’t do that, nor anybody in their right mind would “stand next to an unshielded reactor”, even though the soviets let their people live next to a shielded reactor but with no containment, greedy cheap bastards.

 

I also agree that “the 'safe if not for incompetency and greed' excuse is not going to fly” because it was not stated as an excuse but as yet another fact, a fact of life as a matter of fact, simply that “like other energy sources they usually come from incompetency and greed”. And of course I did not say nor would I ever say that “nuclear power is safe once we eliminate incompetency and greed”, shit happens. But the consequences would be greatly mitigated if people stopped doing bonehead things with such a dangerous material out of “incompetency and greed”, just like any other powerful tool.

 

Admittedly I actually do not know that no one died, I thought there might have been maybe a handful of cleanup workers but I have not read of any, I was actually repeating what a previous commenter wrote without quoting him, it is certainly very believable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

 

There is not a single death attributable to radiation from Fukushima.

 

Obviously this “is ongoing and will be ongoing for the next thirty plus years” and we “all know of the cancer cases due” to mining, transporting, leaking, processing and burning all those fossil fuels, and all those pesticides, and the hormones and antibiotics and other toxins in our food supply, and all those cigarettes, and all … the perils of modern living. Maybe the only safe place left to live is out in the tundra ;-)

post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post
Maybe the only safe place left to live is out in the tundra ;-)

Oh no.  You can get drunk, pass out on your front porch and die, or lose limbs to frostbite.  Happened here just this past winter.

post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jony0 View Post
 
It’s a visceral fear that stems from the invisible nature of radiation and that you can’t run away from it, I understand that. 

Not dissimilar people's fear of flying, despite the fact that it's, by far, the safest mode of transportation (except for passenger rail).

post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

We're already buying thousands. Many thousands. Tesla will end the year with at least 20,000 cars sold.

 

If we waited for every major technology to dot every "i" and cross every "t", nothing new will ever emerge. We'd still be using the older, dirtier, less efficient, more expensive versions of all types of technology.

 

We do not disagree.  Silly to wait for all i's and t's to be dotted and crossed on new technologies, but just as silly to go into mass deployment  right away without trying out a few prototypes and pilot projects.  The Tesla has gone through several prototypes, DoT certification, IIHS testing, etc. so at this point the technology has gone through quite a lot of refinement and fine-tuning already.

 

You also have to balance how much risk you can take versus rate of diffusion in introducing new technologies.  Compared to a new car, you should probably take less risks when introducing new technology in a passenger jet (think 787), and even less with a nuclear power plant.

post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

 

You also have to balance how much risk you can take versus rate of diffusion in introducing new technologies.  Compared to a new car, you should probably take less risks when introducing new technology in a passenger jet (think 787), and even less with a nuclear power plant.

While that's most certainly true, my underlying point was slightly different: how risky are these relative to what we have in place? (I was, very conservatively, only talking about replacing the nuclear reactors we currently have).

post #34 of 40
Funny, about 18 months ago they were saying Apple was lying about it's electrical output.
post #35 of 40
Because Apple have enough Cash to throw and just buy BULKS loads of Solar Panel to power the DC for its long term future. Which is much better then like paying dividends or going more to Marketing.

But Even then Apple still dont have enough DC for all its needs if it were going to complete in the Cloud. I just hope they will move a little faster.
post #36 of 40
Except for the sapphire......right?
post #37 of 40
What a great report. Nice to see other companies, getting good scores too.
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post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

That's because Fukusima was 40 years old. That's like having our roads populated by Ford Pintos and claiming that Teslas as bad (OK.... an occasional one does catch fire.... :D)

 

And yet, it was online and generating electricity.  As are many others of that same age.  Including similar designs in the US of A.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

 

3rd ten nukes are incredibly safe, and yes, clean.

 

 

And someday even those 3rd gen nuke plants are going to be 40 years old.  They'll have to be.  To be cost effective, the huge costs to build them will need to be amortized over decades of electric rates.

 

I'm sure Fukusima was considered "incredibly safe" when it was built (poor assumptions about being able to withstand tsunami flooding notwithstanding).  What about those built near known earthquake faults?  Or those built on the banks of oceans known for tsunamis?  Or on riverbanks known for floods?  All of these examples exist today.  Why would we expect any different with the new plants?

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

    AT&T believes their LTE coverage is adequate

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post #39 of 40
The nuance that most of your are missing is in the details. Apple is 100% renewable according to greenpeace "large part to the fuel cell installation and solar farm"

Yet the article doesn't go into what makes a fuel cell renewable energy. If I were a reporter I would want to know what makes fuel cells renewable. The technology is cool and can exceed the thermodynamic boundaries in converting a fuel into power over and against a traditional gas turbine (30-35%). However, what is powering these fuel cells? The darling of fuel cell production in silicone valley is the very secretive Bloom Energy. Backed by some massive angels and VC's they are wanting to change the way energy is produced in the us: from large centralized power plants far removed from the actual electric user to a secretive bloom box that pipes in natural gas at the customers location and outputs DC energy all day long. That's why data centers can generate their own electricity without needing to construct massive power plants. Fuel cells take a fuel source and strip the electrons straight from the molecules and release CO2 and H2O. No turbine, no cooling tower, nothing. Just a box.

Remember when Steve jobs explained plans for the new apple campus to the city council. How they would be producing all the electricity for this massive complex and server farm from a remote corner of the campus. That's all fuel cells.

Why are fuel cells so efficient:

Power plants convert fuel to electricity at 30% efficiency
Electricity travels over the grid at another 50% grid loss.
Grid power is ac/dc and needs a converter to become dc prior to entering the computer. Converting to dc not only looses some electricity it also generates heat inside the server farm that then again needs to be cooled.

Fuel cell can extract the same electron at the server farm from the same fuel (natural gas) at about 60% efficiency. Fuel cell supplies DC a few feet away from the actual server farm-> no line loss and no conversion loss. Also the cooling load for the server farm is no longer as great. If you ask me, every server farm that operates near full capacity should be run by fuel cells. If only bloom energy had an ipo I would buy there stock.

I obviously like fuel cells, but here is my problem with greenpeace classification.
What powers these very efficient fuel cells: natural gas. In the continental United States there is a massive public utility network of natural gas pipelines that can supply natural gas to every home, business and even street corner. Technically each neighborhood could have a bloombox at much higher efficiencies then any centralized power plant.

That is disruptive technology and a very disruptive business plan for the big power producers in this country. But it's not a RENEWABLE energy breakthrough (yet).

Let's assume that to run the same electron through a server farm it takes a fuel cell 1/4 - 1/3 of the natural gas that would typically be consumed by a traditional gas fired power plant 25 miles away from the server farm.

Therefore the fuel cell is still 25-33% unrenewable compared to traditional power plants. If so, that number should be in green peace's rating and apple should not get 100%. However, I feel green peace is lumping fuel cells in the same category as solar and that is just not correct.

I love apple, I love fuel cells ... But I can't give apple 100 on renewability. Sorry. For that to happen the fuel cells at apple will need to be fired with renewable waste to energy gasses like syngas or methane capture from landfills and not from natural gas.
post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Not dissimilar people's fear of flying, despite the fact that it's, by far, the safest mode of transportation (except for passenger rail).

But if you have a crash, your chance of dying is much higher in a plane than other modes of transport.
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