We’re not stopping here: EPA Green Power Leadership and great work

Last night Intel was proud to receive the Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We were given the award as a result of our multi-year commitment to purchase more than 1.3 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy certificates, making Intel the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the United States. As a result of this commitment, about 47% of Intel’s purchased electricity usage will come from renewable sources such as wind and solar. The EPA estimates that our commitment is equivalent to taking more than 185,000 cars off the road or the annual electricity usage of more than 130,000 American homes. Marty Sedler of Intel’s Technology Manufacturing Group was there to accept the award for Intel, and has been a leader of the renewable energy effort at Intel. I want to congratulate Marty and the entire Intel team for making this a reality.

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I am personally very excited about Intel’s commitment in the renewable energy arena. Our intent is to spur development of the market for renewable energy, making it a realistic, economically feasible choice for individuals and corporations. The energy companies tell us that they have seen an increase in market demand for renewable power as a result of our commitment. This is great, because it is so tough to move the needle on environmental challenges. It’s a problem that is disastrous at the macro level, while, at a micro level, you don’t notice. To give you an example, we don’t hear alarm bells going off on our streets when the CO2 level goes up; but the overall increase of greenhouse gas emissions does have a significant effect for our planet. We need each individual to feel the pressure of what the planet feels and be able to act at an individual level to make a difference.

At Intel, we are focused on helping the environment at three levels: in our operations, in our products, and by enabling other industries and individuals to operate more efficiently through the use of technology. In our operations, we are minimizing our environmental footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in energy and water conservation projects. For example, Intel has dramatically reduced its PFC emissions over the past five years through a voluntary activity we led through the World Semiconductor Council. In 2007, PFC emissions were down to 1995 levels – 50% below peak. These investments make good business sense. Since 2001, we have invested over $20 million and implemented over 250 energy conservation projects that have reduced energy usage by 500 million kWh and saved us more than $40M. I was recently visiting our fab in Ireland and they are a perfect example of this – they have been able to double their production yet reduce overall power consumption by making smart investments in the way they operate. Amazing.

As far as our products are concerned, we continue to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of our microprocessors – in September Paul Otellini noted at Oracle Open World that in the two years since we have launched Intel Core microprocessors, the collective energy savings is 20 Terawatt hours, the equivalent of $2B in energy costs. We also incorporate more environmentally sensitive materials into our design process, and address e-waste/end of life product concerns. Intel Environmental Health and Safety engineers are involved in all phases of Intel’s product design and development processes, addressing environmental challenges before manufacturing occurs.

All this is great. But the area I am most excited about is the power of technology to minimize the environmental impact of all people and all industries. Total emissions from the ICT industry are only about 3% of total global CO2 emissions today. We need to focus on the role ICT can play in addressing the other 97%. By enabling automation, substitution and de-materialization, technology can enable significant energy savings across all sectors. Many of these potential savings are documented in the recently released Smart2020 report, which was produced by the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI) and which Intel was proud to support. The report talks about the power we can save through smart logistics and smart grids, as well as from replacing high carbon physical products and activities with virtual low carbon equivalents (such as e-commerce/e-government and advanced videoconferencing).

We have big environmental challenges ahead, and Intel is committed to being part of the solution.

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