back to article Zuckerborg, Microsoft, Amazon letting the side down for green energy among hyperscalers

Data centre operators are going green because renewable energy costs less, receives tax subsidies and customers like the idea, according to a report by analysts at IHS Markit. The research notes that Apple has been using fully renewable energy in its data centres since 2013. Google reached the 100 per cent point last year, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So in summary...

    ...those with the largest deployments, spread over the largest geographic areas, find it harder to be 100% "Green".

    Who'd a thought it.

  2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Since 'green' is a political concept...

    ...and I don't support that political belief, how can I ensure that my data centres DON'T use any 'green' energy...?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Since 'green' is a political concept...

      Maybe you can partner with Trump and the Koch Brothers to start up some coal powered data centers.

      I have some skepticism in the way the global warming data is massaged etc. but I think "better safe than sorry" applies to something that will melt the icecaps if "sorry" applies. Only a fool would claim to be certain that global warming is false.

      Anyway, fossil fuels will eventually run out, and we're better off getting off them before scarcity and high extraction costs cripple the economy.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Since 'green' is a political concept...

      "how can I ensure that my data centres DON'T use any 'green' energy"

      Caterpillar diesel, running natural gas, set up as a co-generation system [so you get heating and air conditioning out of it, too]. That tech dates back to the 80's.

      From the article: "renewable energy costs less, receives tax subsidies and customers like the idea, according to a report by analysts at IHS Markit."

      The only reason it WOULD cost less is if fossil fuels are TAXED, and those taxes SUBSIDIZE the "renewables". So it's artificial, caused by GUMMINTS (aka politics) picking the 'winners' and 'losers'.

      Only FAIL can come from THAT. Hence, icon.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Supermicro shows how smaller-scale data centre operators can go partly renewable with its San Jose Green Computing Park and 3MW fuel cell technology from Bloom Energy.

    IHS Markit says of such fuel cells: "They are highly efficient and often clean to run. On the downside, they are not widely recognised as a renewable energy and tend to be costly."

    That's because they are not renewable energy at all. The use normal household gas from the utility grid. However the overall CO2 emissions are quite a bit lower than getting the same electricity via a gas turbine power station.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      But they can form part of a 'green' system by acting as a buffer for intermittent energy production from sun, wind and water generation.

      1. inmypjs Silver badge

        "acting as a buffer"

        What a moronic thing to say. The only way they could act as a buffer is if renewable energy sources were used to synthesize the gas they run on and that doesn't happen at all.

        They are non-green generation burning dead dinos and would be even more ridiculously expensive if forced to sit idle while renewable sources are available.

    2. inmypjs Silver badge

      "are not renewable energy at all"

      No and that they are even mentioned in the context shows you what a technically illiterate eco greenwash bullshit fest the whole context is.

      The take up by companies of eco green bullshit electricity seems to be proportional to their profit margins and dumbness of their customers.

      When farcebook stops working at night when it isn't windy I will believe they run on renewable energy.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        "When farcebook stops working at night when it isn't windy I will believe they run on renewable energy."

        exactly. you need dead dinos, carbonized prehistoric plants, hydro plants [ok, "renewable" but very limited as to where you can put them], and nuclear power stations to make electricity at night and when there's no wind.

        last I checked, non-windy summer days and hot summer nights are PRIME load conditions for air conditioning usage, especially in places that are too humid for swamp coolers.

        "Real Cost" per KWH of "renewable" energy STILL exceeds fossil fuel generated energy, unless taxes and subsidies artificially invert that [or in some cases, location makes that choice for you].

        This is especially true because of things like FRACKING, the presence of which has greatly reduced the price of oil, worldwide. From this we ALL benefit. But when you increase the overall cost of energy, consumer prices increase to compensate.

        Are you all SURE you want to raise prices on your customers because of the 'politics of green'? Or are you going to lower wages to compensate, instead? SOMETHING will have to 'give' and 'politics of green' mean it's NOT the energy market.

        There are limits to where you can construct wind power and solar power (and of course hydro power), and the costs of power transmission from these places must be factored in to any analysis. On the other hand, a small natural gas plant (gas turbine) can be built within a building in the middle of a city, and won't have the losses that you get transferring power over long distances.

        In many places, natural gas is SO cheap that it easily beats 'renewables'. And you don't need so much new infrastructure to make it work. And it works at night. And it works on hot non-windy days. And it works during times of drought. And the cost of construction of new (or expanded) power sources is comparatively small.

        There's no harm in having all of those 'renewable' sources. Just don't prop 'em up with taxes on TRADITIONAL (fossil fuel) sources. Let them compete on their OWN merit.

        1. really_adf

          > On the other hand, a small natural gas plant (gas turbine) can be built within a building in the middle of a city, and won't have the losses that you get transferring power over long distances.

          Transmission losses of electricity into the middle of the city are probably less than those of gas, and both probably less than the relative efficiency of large scale generation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    because renewable energy costs less,

    The only reason it appears to cost less is because of the massive subsidies that are paid out by governments from out taxes. Remove the subsidies to the operators and they would close up overnight.

    At the moment the only so called renewable that pays for itself is hydro followed by pumped storage for short term backup. Non of the others are capable of producing base load power and rely on non renewable generators to support them.

  5. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

    "because renewable energy costs less"

    Ha ha.

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