For the last several years I’ve been calling out digital tech companies like Apple for lying about being powered by “100% renewable” energy.
I object to these lies not only because I do not like to see widespread lying, but because companies use their “100% renewable” lies as the basis of supporting policies that mandate or encourage the use of expensive, unreliable solar and wind energy.
Policies that mandate inferior energy, like those in my home state of California, make energy more expensive for everyone—which hurts lower-and-middle class Americans most of all.
The 100% renewable lying also hurts the producers of reliable fossil fuel and nuclear power. So you might expect them to be vocally challenging Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Intel for their claims.
But instead, they’ve been silent. Until now.
Last week, Tyler White, who as the President of the Kentucky Coal Association is a leading voice in the coal industry, took on the “power liars” in the influential Lexington Herald Leader.
Here’s an excerpt about the lying:
Solar and wind are intermittent sources. Because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, they require backup from reliable energy sources like coal. That’s what overwhelmingly powers Big Tech.
Apple, for example, claims its data center in Maiden, N.C. is running predominantly on its own solar capacity and fuel cells. But analysts familiar with the situation have shown the solar panels and fuel cells actually supply power to the grid via the local utility.
It’s this grid that powers the data center using reliable energy, which according to Apple’s own data is over 50 percent nuclear power, 33 percent coal, and less than 1 percent renewable.
And here’s an excerpt about the lying’s dangerous consequences:
Big Tech is using the status it gains from being a “green” leader to actively push for anti-fossil fuel policies.
Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon came out in support of President Barack Obama’s anti-coal Clean Power Plan in 2016. And Intel has called for a carbon tax and an 85-percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions. All of these policies would make energy more expensive for millions of Americans and billions around the world.
Silicon Valley’s millionaires and billionaires may be able to afford higher energy costs in order to appear green. But for poorer Kentuckians, who already spend upwards of 20 percent of their incomes on energy, increasing that burden means they have less to spend on everything else — food, clothing, housing and medicine.
In praising this piece I must disclose, proudly, that the author is one of my clients. As is the allied website, “The Coal Truth,” that has a more in-depth expose of “100% renewable.”
The goal of my consulting work is to create principled, persuasive messaging for other organizations that support pro-freedom, pro-flourishing policies. I only help with projects that I believe are advancing human flourishing through human freedom.
I hope that Tyler’s great article inspires other organizations to take principled, persuasive stands.
Alex Epstein is a philosopher, energy expert, and persuasion consultant. Contact him here for speaking, consulting, or media inquiries.