Greenpeace likes to target Apple every year or so to keep them environmentally honest, and lately, the environmental access group has been going after Apple’s giant data supercenter in Maiden, North Carolina, claiming that it helps make iCloud one of the dirtiest things on the planet.
What Greenpeace is upset about is how much of the data center’s power comes from non-renewable resources, particularly coal. And they don’t think that Apple’s going far enough with its plans for solar energy plans.
Now the protests are getting real, with seven Greenpeace activists blocking train tracks used by Duke Energy and Apple use to ship coal.
Four protesters locked themselves to the train tracks near the Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County and two others hung a sign reading “Save Our Mountain Clean The Cloud.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Charlotte Fire Department officials responded around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
Activists from Greenpeace, Keepers of the Mountains Foundation, Katuah Earth First! and Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival took part in the event. The protesters branded the train cars with the Apple logo to show that the company’s Maiden data center will be powered by more coal as it expands.
Police soon came in and disbanded the protest, taking seven people into custody and charging them with trespassing.
Duke Energy says, on their part, their doing their best to shut down their oldest and dirtiest coal plants, but clearly this isn’t a quick fix issue. Apple’s energy requirements are more than solar panels can currently provide, and unfortunately, most of the North Carolina’s electricity — up to 62% — comes from coal-fired power plants. Apple may have been attracted to North Carolina by the tax breaks, but they probably never expected that they’d inherit the state’s coal controversy.