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Intel Leads Green Power Ranking Again; Google Not So Much

By - Source: EPA | B 10 comments

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has updated its Green Power Partnership ranking of the 50 organizations that buy the most green power.

The three constants in this listing are the fact that (1) Intel is leading the list once again, (2) Whole Foods remains the only organization that covers all of its energy usage with green power since the initiation of the ranking and (3) organizations continue to purchase more green power at a fast pace overall.

Intel is inching closer toward the goal of covering 100 percent of its corporate power use and buys nearly twice the green power than the next biggest purchaser Kohl's - 2.80 billion kWh versus 1.53 billion kWh per year. However, Kohl's buys 101 percent of its power needs from green sources (such as biogas, biomass, solar and wind) and Intel only 89 percent. Microsoft has broken into the list as an apparently new member of the Green Power Partnership and lists at #3 with 1.12 billion kWh and 46 percent coverage.

The top 5 is completed by Wal-Mart (872 million kWh, 28 percent) and Whole Foods (28 percent). Surprising members on the list - on a positive note - may be McDonald's (#13, 306 million kWh, 30 percent), and Best Buy (#40, 118 million kWh, 11 percent). Also somewhat surprising may be the fact that Google is not quite as green as the perception may indicate. All those solar panels on Google's roof and wind turbines hardly shows any impact: Google acquires only 103 million kWh per year - which is about 5 percent of its total consumption. Also noteworthy is that an long time leader of the earlier versions of the list, the U.S. Air Force, is slipping. The Air Force buys 262 million kWh per year, which is not only below the 2004 mark of 1.04 billion kWh, but its coverage has also dropped from 11 percent to just 3 percent.

However, the larger picture shows that purchases of 54 million kWh were enough to rank #25 on the list in 2004, while 176 million kWh in 2012 - based on the numbers in published list, which adds and drops a few members in every new release.

 

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  • 7 Hide
    velocityg4 , July 26, 2012 1:48 PM
    I don't really see how biogas makes the list. Biogas is far from green. Coal is probably more green.

    Massive amounts of land have to be used (habitat destroyed) to produce the stuff compared to crude oil. Large amounts of fuel get used to fertilize, till, maintain, harvest and process the plants into fuel. I've seen estimates that range from eight gallons of gasoline are needed to produce nine gallons of ethanol to it taking many times more gas get used in producing ethanol than is reaped. Then there is the fresh water usage. We simply do not have enough to sustain production. Already we are using groundwater faster than it is being replenished.

    Once all is said and done you are still pumping CO2 gases into the atmosphere. Except now it is a crap load more as you have all the gas used in production then the ethanol consumed by the end user.
  • 8 Hide
    JamesSneed , July 26, 2012 2:05 PM
    I think Biogas makes the list because its renewable. I'm with you its not "green" well except maybe in color. To me Biogas makes since for farmers and farm equipment since they could use a portion of their crops to make their own fuel. If you are going to expend the energy to harvest the crops for food anyhow it could have some saving to take a portion of the crop and turn it into Biogas . Besides that use case I just don't understand why its even an option.
  • 0 Hide
    rosen380 , July 26, 2012 2:18 PM
    For biogas-- lets say you are making it from corn, are they using the actual corn that we eat, or can it be made from the husks, stalks and cob that we don't?
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  • 6 Hide
    CaedenV , July 26, 2012 2:26 PM
    The reason it is an option is not because it is a green tech, so much as it is simply 'not gas/coal/nuke' power. The green movement is less about saving the environment, and more about replacing current energy monopolies with their own energy monopolies.

    I'm not against better power sources (specifically solar, nuclear, and fuel cell tech), but wind, bio-gas, and biomass all have some weird drawbacks and consequences which need to be considered if it is really to be labeled as a truly 'green' tech.

    ... If we could just find the magic key to make better batteries (which is steadily improving, but has not really 'arrived' yet) then we could all move to solar and reserve fossil fuels for air travel and military use. Solar is already available at 22% (which is enough to power even some power hungry homes when available roof space is considered), and has a pay-off of under 10 years, which means that it is almost a viable tech for home-owners like myself. Once they get the payoff to under 7 years (preferably under 5) then you will begin to see mass adoption of the tech.
  • 5 Hide
    CaedenV , July 26, 2012 2:31 PM
    rosen380For biogas-- lets say you are making it from corn, are they using the actual corn that we eat, or can it be made from the husks, stalks and cob that we don't?

    It is made from the stuff we eat, which is why when ethanol was pushed a few years back it caused corn prices to sky-rocket around the world, which made for a very crappy 2-3 years for the truly poor in the world who eat mostly corn based products. We got cheaper gas, and people literally starved to death, Ethanol is generally a bad idea for mass production; but like jamessneed mentioned, it makes perfect sense for farms where you can take damaged crops and reuse it as fuel, but just not on a mass scale.
  • 2 Hide
    boiler1990 , July 26, 2012 3:34 PM
    velocityg4I don't really see how biogas makes the list. Biogas is far from green. citation]
    Many biofuels also result in acid rain, and generally aren't as energy dense as other sources.

    Quote:
    However, Kohl's buys 101 percent of its power needs from green sources

    Interesting...tell me more...
  • 2 Hide
    ddpruitt , July 26, 2012 5:07 PM
    These just tells you how much green power they buy not how much they use. So Google only buys 5% of it's power as "green" how much green power does it create on it's own? What efforts are they putting into being more environmentally friendly? What about the products they make? So Intel buys more green power, what kind of wastes are they dumping for building processors and how is their overall efficiency compared to competitors and what are they doing to improve it?

    I'm all for being environmentally friendly, but lists like these ('specially from the gubernment) are more for political convenience and muddy the issue.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , July 26, 2012 5:15 PM
    The reason that 'biogas' product continues is because of the farm/corn lobby. It is actually much worse for the environment than fossil fuels but farmers like anything that raises crop prices.
  • 0 Hide
    palladin9479 , July 27, 2012 4:20 AM
    Only long term viable energy solution is nuclear. Solar / Wind are no where close to being able to provide power for the USA, much less the world. If you used every square inch of flat space in the world (killing the local populations in the process) you could get enough solar / wind to power the USA and only the USA. And that's assuming the sun is shining 24/7 at noon intensity.

    Carbon based biofuels (Coal / Gas / Oil) are a bad idea for base load power, good option for swing / peak load but absolutely horrible for base. Leaves nukes as the best way forward, just got to rid of the bad taste left over from the older Generation I design's. MSR / LFTRs are the future for fission reactors, clean, passively safe and a huge advance in efficiency the older PWR / LWBRs.

  • 0 Hide
    maddy143ded , July 27, 2012 5:00 AM
    Really, the BioGas Plants that I have seen usually operate on Mammal Waste, including that of Humans. Cattle Dung is the most widely used raw material and human waste is also used in tandem. this method is way more economical and Green then Using corn or other crops... because in the end you need some place to put all that waste into.