Greenpeace 2015 Update

Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet

"Unless leading internet companies find a way to leapfrog traditional, polluting sources of electricity, the convenience of streaming could cause us to increase our carbon footprint"  (5)

With an online population of over 3 billion, the Internet has become an integral part of modern life. Not only is it here to stay; it's here to grow, with global internet traffic increasing by 20% every year. Data centers - the hidden hardware processing every email you send, movie you stream and bandname you google - now have a combined energy need that is greater than all but a handful of country's. The sources of electricity and energy efficiency of these facilities are thus important issues.

This 2015 Greenpeace report takes a detailed look at the data centers of the leading internet companies, identifying their sources of energy and ranking them on a Clean Energy Index. Explore the data behind the report on this Silk database.

How to Use This Silk: Browse the charts and maps below. Click "Explore" anywhere on the site to go into visualization and filtering mode. Search for individual pages or entities in the top search box.

Energy mix per company

Not all percentages add up to 100%. Limited data available for Akamai. Source: Greenpeace.

Energy mix per company

Apple is the only company so far that has a completely 'green' energy mix, meaning all of its data center's electricity come from renewable energy sources. Colocation companies (companies renting out data center space) are among the worst performers on the Clean Energy Index, procuring between 70% and 90% of their electricity from nuclear, coal or gas sources.

The stacked barchart to the left shows the energy mix for each individual facility, where data was available. Use the filter on top of the chart to select different companies or use the Country filter to compare facilities by location.

Power capacity and number of data centers

The two biggest colocation companies (in terms of power capacity needed for its data centers) are Digital Realty and Equinix. Together these companies' data centers require roughly 2000 MW - that is more than the installed capacity of Afghanistan, Cambodia and Brunei combined

Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft have the highest power needs of the group of internet companies owning (most of) their own data centers. 

Unfortunately none of these companies score particularly high on the Clean Energy Index, with the two biggest (Digital Realty and Equinix) at the bottom of the list.

Total power capacity (estimate) by company

Showing the combined power capacity (estimates) of all data centers by company. Source: Greenpeace.

Counting the number of facilities shows North America houses more than half the biggest data centers. Europe and Asia follow far behind; Africa is host to only one facility. 

Number of facilities by region

Showing the number of facilities only; does not include the size of the facilities in power capacity. Source: Greenpeace.

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