Intel holds onto green power purchasing lead

Dell also shows up on the EPA's top 10 list of biggest renewable energy purchasers.

Technology giant Intel is sourcing more than half of its electricity, approximately 1.4 kilowatt-hours annually, from renewable energy sources. That's according to the latest Green Power Top 50 list published regularly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And, that's again. In fact, as far back as two years ago, when I first started following and reporting on this list, Intel's leadership as a green power purchaser was clear and defensible.

The EPA defines green power as electricity created from renewable sources including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas and low-impact hydropower. The interesting thing about Intel is that it sources from all of these different types of alternative generating technologies, which shows a range of diversity that isn't necessarily demonstrated by other companies that make the list.

Dell was the only other company in the Top 10 this quarter. Its standing was little changed from the last time I reported about this ranking in August; the Texas hardware and services company is purchasing about 431 million kilowatt-hours of green power each year. That's 129 percent of its needs, which means that a portion of those purchases are coming in the form of renewable energy credits.

Here are the other tech companies on the latest list (with is current as of early October 2010), along with their standing:

  • No. 12 = Cisco Systems with 270 million kilowatt-hours annually (29 percent)
  • No. 31 = Motorola with 119 million kilowatt-hours annually (32 percent)
  • No. 43 = Sprint Nextel with 87.6 million kilowatt-hours annually (3 percent)
  • No. 47 = Sony DADC with 82 million kilowatt-hours annually (46 percent)

Yup, that's right. No Hewlett-Packard, no IBM, no Microsoft, no Apple, no Google, no Facebook. Although that's not necessarily because these companies don't use renewable energy (they do) but because their purchases aren't big enough to break the national Top 50, which represents all industries as well as the biggest municipal buyers of green power. Size matters on this list, as does your line of business. Intel obviously needs a lot of powers to run its fabs; that's not the case with the software and Web services companies that I just mentioned. But what about HP and IBM? Where are they?