Apple’s Data Centers Reach 100% Renewable Power, Their Facilities Worldwide Hit 75%

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"Apple’s Data Centers Reach 100% Renewable Power, Their Facilities Worldwide Hit 75%"

This week Bloomberg caught an announcement from Apple that all of their data centers are now run on 100 percent renewable energy. Apple is at 75 percent for their corporate facilities worldwide — a remarkable increase from 35 percent in 2010.

Apple was targeted by Greenpeace last year, in a report that ranked the Silicon Valley giant 12th our of 14 large computer companies for use of clean energy to power data centers and cloud computing services. Apple received a “D” grade for energy transparency, efficiency, and renewables advocacy, and an “F” for infrastructure siting.

Apparently, that dismal assessment got the company’s attention:

We’ve already achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino. And for all of Apple’s corporate facilities worldwide, we’re at 75 percent, and we expect that number to grow as the amount of renewable energy available to us increases. We won’t stop working until we achieve 100 percent throughout Apple.

“Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud will be powered by clean energy sources, not coal,” Gary Cook, an analyst at Greenpeace, wrote in a statement. According to Apple’s numbers, the company reduced its carbon emissions per dollar of revenue by 21.5 percent between 2008 and 2012 — though their overall carbon footprint still went up due to increased sales.

You can dig into Apple’s environmental self-reporting a bit more here.

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said that a 100-acre solar array set up next to its largest data center, located in Maiden, North Carolina, came online this past December. The company says it’s generating 60 percent of the center’s power on site — through a combination of solar power and fuel cells that convert biogases to energy — and that the rest of the electricity is drawn from renewable sources. Another data center under construction in Prineville, Oregon, will run on a combination of wind, hydro, solar and geothermal power.

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14 Responses to Apple’s Data Centers Reach 100% Renewable Power, Their Facilities Worldwide Hit 75%

  1. fj says:

    Great stuff.

    Gives clear indication how fast we can move on climate change if we really want to.

    Something is not impossible if it already exists.

    • fj says:

      Net zero NYC 2020 would be extraordinary.

      It would change the course of history.

      And, Bloomberg could make this happen, of course with a little help from his friends.

  2. Bill says:

    The products associated with the Apple brand are not made by Apple but by companies like Foxconn in other countries with lower environmental and labor standards – the majority in China (wikipedia) where they are probably manufactured using power produced from coal, or possibly worse (petroleum coke from tar sands?). While it is great that Apple is using alt energy for their data centers, their products are probably produced with the worst kind of energy and then shipped.

    • fj says:

      If true, it would be another area ripe for dramatic efficiency and low emission improvements.

      • Bill says:

        It was reported in a climate news blog (Climate Progress, March 20, 2013) that coal is used for 79% of energy production in China. The iphone reportedly takes $168 to make, priced full retail pass $650 I hear. Apple could make this device in its primary market, the US with clean energy, and still make money – although maybe not enough for their financial investors who, after all, are the 1%. While it is no doubt good that Apple is working to run their US data centers with alt energy, don’t excuse their actual climate footprint.

      • fj says:

        Clean technology extremely efficient manufacturing centers that place the highest value on human capital must serve as the breeding engines of a new civilization of maximal prosperity and minimal waste.

        • fj says:

          . . . exquisitely infused with the energies of Eden.

        • fj says:

          The original Eden was not a bad idea: high quality of life with a low cost of living and clothing optional.

        • Bill says:

          Nature is not freely given. Solar panels have their own carbon footprint. Given our supply chain infrastructure, they are presently in the majority manufactured in China. This entire supply chain construction is based on the premise of cheap fossil fuel energy since that is the only source of transportable fuels that can be used for transport vehicles such as trucks and boats. If we truly want to engineer a more sustainable infrastructure, it would be based on reduced consumption and local manufacture which directly reduces our use of fossil fuels (including packaging). The building of data centers to handle ‘iMessages’ is a consumptive enterprise no matter what the energy source is.

        • fj says:

          Of course there were scientists who thought the evidence favoring DNA was inconclusive and preferred to believe that genes were protein molecules. Francis, however, did not worry about these skeptics. Many were cantankerous fools who unfailingly backed the wrong horses. One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.

          — James D. Watson, The Double Helix, A Personal Account of the Discovery of THE STRUCTURE OF DNA, 1968, page 14.

  3. Dr.A.Jagadeesh says:

    Will other IT and Computer Giants follow Apple?
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
    E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

    • Sasparilla says:

      Not unless regulated to or shown it saves them serious dollars.

      While Apple has dramatically reduced its packaging over the last 5 years (besides a good idea, it saves money) – this is something they did because their execs thought it was a good idea and probably cost them money to the bottom line – most big companies won’t make that choice.

  4. Raul M. says:

    Congratulations Apple