AWS’s Datacenters Receiving Criticism from Greenpeace

Greenpeace is one of the world’s most vocal organizations in regards to datacenter energy consumption and environmental impact. Greenpeace has led the charge in making datacenter technology greener. You may remember Greenpeace as being the organization whose reports lambasted companies such as HP, Apple and Facebook for having energy inefficient datacenters. That criticism had a positive effect because each of these companies has made significant progress in becoming a greener enterprise. Greenpeace now refers to these companies as champions of greener technology for their quick responses to Greenpeace’s constructive criticism.

It may come as a surprise to some that Amazon’s popular AWS cloud datacenters have recently endured the criticism of Greenpeace.  It may be of note that Amazon AWS is the infrastructure behind some of the most notable companies on the web. When you think about services like NetFlix, Vine or Pinterest, it some readers may not realize that users are actually accessing services located inside of AWS’s cloud datacenters.

Greenpeace’s report mentions, “Despite the recent adoption of 100% renewable energy commitments by competitors Rackspace, Google and Apple, AWS continues to rapidly expand its global infrastructure without any apparent regard to environmental impact or access to renewable energy.”

This harsh criticism is sure to raise a few eyebrows. In a quote provided to Forbes magazine, AWS representatives quickly responded to the report mentioning that it, “Misses the mark by using false assumptions on AWS operations and inaccurate data on AWS energy consumption. We provided this feedback to Greenpeace prior to publishing their report.”

AWS also noted, “We work hard on our own, and together with our power providers all over the world, to offer AWS Cloud services in an environmentally friendly way in all of our regions. AWS operates efficient and highly utilized data centers across 10 different regions globally, two of which (Oregon and GovCloud Regions) use 100% carbon-free power. We like offering customers the choice of being able to run carbon-free, and we love doing it without charging a premium over other North American regions.”

So who is right? Is Greenpeace’s criticism of AWS justified? Cloud pundits will certainly weigh in on this topic as the data continues to surface.