Friday, 27 February 2015

Apple data centre a great boost for Galway but please spare us the Green Propaganda

There is much to be said in favour of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community - Oscar Wilde

Apple's new data centre in Galway will bring 100 long term jobs, according to Minister Richard Bruton, jobs that are very much welcome to this region of the country. Much was made by the usual suspects about how the centre was going to be powered by 100% renewables. But the reality was far less romantic :

Apple has promised that it will use renewable energy, but local residents have been told that this does not involve construction of a wind farm – rather the company will purchase power from a renewable energy provider. 

Of course, there is no such thing as a renewable energy provider, all electricity providers provide electricity from the same grid with the same fuel mix and a frequency set by synchronous fossil fuel power. So that was took some amount of PR, Spin and double-speak to get from the data centre will use the same grid power as everyone else to the data centre will be powered from 100% renewables. 

As the local councillor said “This is a very significant investment, and the only by-product will be a lot of hot air.” - Well, quite.

Data centres consume quite a bit of power but we are told that Ireland’s high electricity costs – 30 per cent more now than in 2010, which is well above the European average – will be offset by the temperate location, which presumably will assist in the cooling of the servers and units. I cant find any data but I would imagine that a conventional manufacturing plant would use more electricity, but I would be interested in opinions on this.

Both Apple and the Green movement / Wind industry are very much dependent on China for the mining of rare earths. There is not a whole pile of information available on this as one would expect from a Communist regime, but I would suggest a couple of articles which reveal some of the hypocrisy involved in Western movements :

In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale - The Daily Mail

Rare-earth mining in China comes at a heavy cost for local villages - The Guardian

Of course, most manufacturing and high tech industries involve some degree of environmental impact and it would be unfair to single out one or two but the reason I bring this subject up here is because the movements and industries which espouse green principles and credentials in reality share just the same reliance on raw materials and fossilfuel energy as any other.  

For example, most people in Ireland believe that nuclear power is bad because of the waste by-products but likewise, most believe that wind power is clean because there are no by-products. The facts are that both sources of power result in waste by-products - the only difference is with wind, the by-product lies in a lake thousands of miles away on another continent, out of sight and out of mind. 

As someone long ago once said, ignorance is bliss.


  1. Google's engineers have something to say about it too.

    And our racing industry will be damaged by this nonsense.

  2. The Aarhus Convention is a civil contract entered into by Ireland, the UK, the EU and several other countries on behalf of its citizens. It is designed to correct the mistakes of the past where governments implement plans and programmes which have a significant impact on the environment. There are three pillars, Public Consultation, Access to Information and Affordable Access to the Courts to challenge decisions, Any citizen may make a complaint to the Compliance Committee which comprises a group of part time regulators which sits in Geneva Switzerland. Some of its provisions have been transposed into Irish Law by Statutory Instrument and are accepted by the courts. The EU ratified it in 2005 but Ireland alone with Russia did not do so until 2012. Essentially it calls for full and complete assessment of plans and programmes and wind farms over 5 mw are included. The EU has given the 2 fingers to the Committee in relation to its energy policy and Ireland has been dragged kicking and screaming into compliance. This is undemocratic and corrupt of the present government, but there is no evidence that the Greens, Fianna Fail or Sinn Fein are any better. Essentially its about full and complete assessment before the decision is made to apply for planning consent. The present situation where the local people have 5 weeks to prepare a submission to planning is precisely what the Convention is designed to prevent. The Committee sits again in March.