updated 07:33 pm EST, Tue February 4, 2014
Microsoft, Lenovo also noted; Google falls behind contemporaries
A new list published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has illustrated how much power some of America's top technology and telecom firms use, and how much of it comes from renewable "green" resources such as wind, solar, biogas and other options. The list, oddly ranked strictly by the amount of total power used rather than the "net" amount of power used from non-renewable sources, shows Intel at the top, with Apple in fourth place.
While not using anywhere near as much power as its contemporaries, 19th-ranked Lenovo is notable for being one of only two companies in on the list to generate more power than it uses. Lenovo, based in China where pollution is a serious issue, uses 35 giga-watt hours (GWh) of power annually, but generates 288 percent more power than it needs entirely through wind, presumably selling or contributing the excess back to the Chinese state utilities. Advantest America and Nokia, with 102 percent and 101 percent respectively, were the only other companies on the list that generated more power than they used.
Intel, which uses far more power than any other of the 30 companies listed (some six times more than Apple), generates 100 percent of its power through renewable resources, including biogas, bio-mass, small hydro, wind and solar sources. The company uses approximately 3.1 terawatt hours (TWh) per year. Microsoft came in second, using nearly 2TWh of power but generating 80 percent of it from green sources.
Apple also earned the honor of having the most diverse list of sources for its alternative energy, utilizing 11 different companies (compared to five or less for all other companies on the list). The iPhone maker, which came in fourth in terms of usage, needed 537GWh in power but generated 85 percent through renewable energy. Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed a desire for the company to reach 100 percent power from renewable resources.
Google, which placed third by requiring 737GWh, got only 32 percent of its power from green sources. In terms of renewable power percentages, it was the worst ranking among the top five tech and telecom power users, but not the worst overall; Sprint (five percent), Samsung (six percent), Xerox (eight percent), Spansion Inc (five percent) and Freescale Semiconductor (a dismal three percent) were the worst offenders.