The infrastructure that supports the Internet, online commerce and nearly all corporate data services is engaged in a vast migration eastward in search of energy prices cheaper than anything available in Silicon Valley, where the digital revolution began, according to a report released Tuesday by the environmental group Greenpeace.
Internet companies often cloak themselves in an image of environmental awareness. But some companies that essentially live on the Internet are moving facilities to North Carolina, Virginia, northeastern Illinois and other regions whose main sources of energy are coal and nuclear power, the report said. The report singles out Apple as one of the leaders of the charge to coal-fired energy.
“They are very brand-conscious companies,” Mr. Cook said. “They want to be presenting themselves as responsible and innovative.” He added that the companies “don’t want people to be concerned about, when they post their videos, that that’s somehow attached to coal.”
In fact, coal accounts for about half the generation capacity of the electric utility that powers an enormous data center in Maiden, N.C., that Apple recently opened, and some industry analysts think the center will be expanded. Nuclear power accounts for the large majority of the rest of that capacity, according to figures supplied by the utility, Duke Energy.
Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, added that the company is building two large projects intended to offset energy use from the grid in North Carolina: an array of solar panels and a set of fuel cells.
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