Since 2004 the Environmental Protection Agency has released a list of top companies that use what it calls "Green Power". This quarter, 7 tech giants have made the list
Green Power Resources include clean and renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, biomass, wind and hydro power. The EPA ranks them in order of the number of kilowatt hours of green power they consume, so the larger the company, the bigger chance they have of making the list.
Larger companies also have more money to spend on partnerships with the EPA. These companies do not necessarily have to generate or buy electric power for themselves, but rather buy energy certificates from companies selling "Green Power". According to ZDNet, many companies do this just for the sake of building their green energy portfolio.
Intel has topped the list since 2008, using 2.5 billion kilwatt hours of biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar and wind power. The amount of green power they consume compared to the total number of power consumption is high at 88 percent.
Other top green power tech companies include Cisco Systems, Sprint, Dell, Google, and Xerox. These companies consume a lot of green energy, but their percentages are nowhere near Intel's 88 percent.
- Microsoft - 1.12 billion kW - biomass, small-hydro, wind - 46%
- Cisco Systems - 268.6 million kWh - wind - 27%
- Sprint - 176 million kWh - solar, wind - 5%
- Dell - 119.4 million kWh - biogas, solar, wind - 29%
- Google - 103 million kWh - biogas, biomass, small-hydro, solar, wind - 5%
- Xerox - 101.4 million kWh - wind - 18%
The alarming thing is the amount of non-renewable energy being consumed by these large companies who make the list of top green power consumers, but only use green power as a small percentage of their total power consumption. Sprint, for instance, uses or sponsors 176 million kWh hours of green energy. But when you take into account their percentage, they are using 3.5 billion kWh hours of energy from other, non-environmentally friendly sources.
Perhaps a more telling list is EPA's list of companies using on-site generators. This shows the companies that are taking a direct risk in investing large amounts of money to back alternative energy. Of tech companies, only Google makes the list, for investing in on-site biogas and solar projects.[Sources: ZDNet, EPA]