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ICT and Big Data
Amazon Announces New Carbon-Neutral Data Center in Frankfurt, But Greenpeace Is Skeptical

On Thursday, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) announced the launch of a new technology infrastructure region in Frankfurt — the 11th such region globally for AWS and the second region in the EU (the first being in Ireland). The company says Frankfurt is the third of its regions that will enable customers to run their cloud computing on carbon-neutral power.

But Greenpeace, which earlier this year called out AWS in its Clicking Clean report for continuing to power its infrastructure with polluting energy sources, is skeptical about the company’s carbon-neutral claim.

“It’s encouraging that Amazon seems to be recognizing that its customers want to power their data with renewable energy, but Amazon needs to release more information to give its customers confidence that its ‘carbon-neutral’ claim about its new Frankfurt data center holds water,” Greenpeace Senior Energy Campaigner David Pomerantz said today in a statement. “While we would like to trust that Amazon’s new facility will actually be powered by renewable sources, Amazon’s refusal so far to disclose any data about its energy use makes it difficult for customers or the public to accept the company’s claim on good faith alone.”

“Amazon has many options to procure renewable energy in Germany, where wind and solar are flourishing, and doing so would represent a welcome first step toward joining rivals like Google, Rackspace, Apple and Facebook, which are committed to powering their data centers with 100% renewable energy,” Pomerantz said. “If, however, Amazon is buying renewable energy credits or carbon offsets while continuing to power its Frankfurt facility with coal or nuclear energy, then its latest data center will continue the company’s track record as the dirtiest major cloud computing provider.”

Pomerantz pointed out that Amazon still has a lot of work to do to clean up its act Stateside: Over 60 percent of AWS’ computing power is centered in Virginia, where he says 97 percent of its electricity is still powered by coal, gas and nuclear power plants.

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