Greenpeace stages Apple protest


Greenpeace activists today staged a protest at Apple’s European headquarters in Cork to highlight the company’s planned use of coal-generated energy to supply its planned cloud computing centre in the United States.

Two Greenpeace activists climbed on to the roof of the Apple HQ in Hollyhill on Cork’s northside and mounted a display calling on Apple to clean up its cloud computing operations, while another 15 or so activists distributed leaflets to Apple staff arriving for work.

According to Greenpeace International campaigner Iris Cheng, Greenpeace published a report yesterday that showed Apple was one of the top three companies in the world using coal-generated energy to power its cloud computing operations.

“Apple’s cloud computing is based in North Carolina where they are building a data centre and where they will use coal to generate 55 per cent of its energy needs – we are saying that centre can be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy like Apple’s European HQ here in Cork.

“The data centre in North Carolina is still being built so they can still chose what energy sources they can tap into and if they chose to power that centre with renewables, that’s going to be a game changer for clean energy,” said Ms Cheng.

Gardaí were called to the scene of the protest that began at the Hollyhill plant at around 6.30am, but it is understood, following negotiations, the protesters came down from the roof of the building and the protest passed off peacefully.

Apple in Cork could not be contacted for a comment, but Apple did issue a statement to the New York Times yesterday in which it disputed Greenpeace’s estimate as to the energy usage required to operate its planned cloud computing base in North Carolina.

According to the statement, Apple’s date centre would consume about 20 million watts at full capacity, which is just one-fifth of what Greenpeace estimated, and the company is building an array of solar panels and set of fuel cells to offset energy use from the grid in North Carolina.