Commercial, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  January 10, 2017

Greenpeace praises Switch in clean energy rankings

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, in a new report, named Apple, Google, Facebook and Switch as leaders in the movement to build a renewably powered internet.

Nevada-based Switch, a newcomer to the report, "Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet?" which has been tracking the renewable energy activities of internet and internet technology companies for six years, ranked the highest among all company classes evaluated this year. The report gives "company scorecards" to a variety of companies, which Greenpeace says is based on information provided to them directly as well as publicly available information from each company. 

"[Switch] is the definitive leader among colocation operators for its efforts to transition its data center fleet to renewables as fast as possible through a combination of renewable energy procurement and aggressive advocacy," Greenpeace said in the report. 

The A grade given to Switch in the 2017 report reflect Switch's use of 100% renewable energy for all of its data centers; the company's commitment to 100% renewable energy for all operations; its renewable energy advocacy; its greenhouse gas emission transparency; and its industry leading energy-efficient data center design.

Collectively,  Greenpeace said Switch and other top companies are leading the charge to build a renewably powered internet. While evaluating the companies in five categories —transparency; renewable energy; commitment and siting policy; energy efficiency and mitigation; renewable procurement; and advocacy — Switch noted that its analysis "does not attempt to represent itself as a comprehensive snapshot of how much clean energy is being consumed on a companywide level."

Among other key findings of the organization's analysis, Greenpeace was critical of Amazon Web Services, saying that while the company did make significant strides toward its 100% renewable energy goal in 2016, its "lack of transparency" and rapid growth in power markets primarily served by "dirty energy," such as Virginia, call its path into question. That said, the cloud computing arm of Amazon.com Inc. has been working with Dominion Virgina Power in recent months to increase its access to clean energy for its data centers in Northern Virginia. 

Looking at the industry broadly, Greenpeace credited major internet companies in pushing other corporations toward clean energy use:

Major internet companies' leadership has been a catalyst in driving a broader set of corporations to adopt 100% renewable goals, contributing to a dramatic increase in renewable deals in the U.S. signed directly by corporations, totaling 3.4 GW of renewable deals signed in 2015, with over two-thirds of this power from renewable deals by IT companies. 

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