Tencent Holdings has lead China’s cloud providers in renewable power use
Tencent Holdings has unseated Alibaba Group Holding to lead China’s cloud providers in renewable power use, according to Greenpeace East Asia’s latest clean energy scorecard for the country’s Big Tech sector.
The report highlighted that Tencent ranked first due to its positive record on transparency, an increase in its renewable energy procurement, and its recent announcement that it would work toward reaching carbon neutrality.
Greenpeace’s report stated that 13 of China’s 22 biggest tech companies have begun to actively procure renewable energy, compared to just eight companies in 2019. It also asked companies to disclose data on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
China’s data center industry is a significant and growing source of CO2 emissions. Energy consumption from the sector is on track to increase by 66% between 2019 and 2023, at which point electricity consumption from the industry is projected to rival that of Australia. In 2018, data centers in China were powered 73% by coal.
The report analysed the performance of China’s 22 largest cloud and data centre companies in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and data transparency.
Thirteen of those companies have begun to actively procure renewable energy, up from eight in 2019, but only Baidu and the Chindata Group have renewable energy usage rates higher than 3%, it said.
Meanwhile, Alibaba fell from first to fourth place in the scorecard’s cloud provider category due to “poor performance in clean energy use” and “lack of transparency.”
GDS, which hosts both Tencent and Alibaba operations, fell from second to sixth in the latest clean energy use rankings. Over the past 14 months, GDS has made no progress in the categories of energy transparency and renewable energy commitments, according to Greenpeace. By contrast, AtHub and 21 Vianet have both released energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission data.
Greenpeace urges that China’s internet companies set targets for 100% renewable energy use and achieve carbon neutrality (scope 1-3) by 2030. Carbon offsets are not a substitute for the reduction of fossil fuel emissions. Companies must scale up procurement of wind and solar energy, and actively disclose energy use data and greenhouse gas emissions data.
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