Green protest targets Apple's HQ
Greenpeace activists have staged an hour-long rooftop protest at computer giant Apple's European headquarters.
The group aims to raise awareness about the growing use and scale of cloud data centres which store information for customers and companies at a central base housing thousands of computers.
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director, said customers of some of the world's leading IT and internet companies want to know the companies' energy policies are sustainable. He said: "When people around the world share their music or photos on the cloud, they want to know that the cloud is powered by clean, safe energy."
A number of protesters scaled the Apple building in Holyhill, Cork, and voluntarily came down after an hour. Gardai and the fire service were called to the scene and other activists distributed leaflets to staff.
Greenpeace, which praised Apple's energy policy in Ireland, also staged protests over cloud computing centres in Turkey and Luxembourg. It is angered over the use of coal generated energy for new cloud sites.
Iris Cheng, campaigner from Greenpeace International, said some major IT companies are not innovative enough about how they power their centres. She said: "Coal is one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet... A company that prides itself for its vision and innovation should not be using outdated polluting coal.
"The irony here in Cork is that Apple's HQ is powered by renewable energy sources. The much needed jobs this HQ provides to the local community are also increasing the jobs in the Irish renewable energy sector. Apple has shown it can power with clean energy in Cork, it is now time to clean up globally."
Ireland is increasingly becoming an important base for cloud computing with the Government and investors highlighting the cool climate and westerly weather patterns as a big draw.
Apple rejected Greenpeace's claims that it is not focused on renewables. It said its new data centre in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity and ultimately 60% of its energy from on-site renewables including the largest solar farm and fuel cell generator of their kind in the US.
A separate site due to open next year in Oregon will be run 100% on renewables. Apple also said it buys all its energy for the Cork plant from a renewable supplier.