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Apple and renewable energy

Apples, Currier & Ives, 1868. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

Responding to criticism over energy consumption at its data centers from Greenpeace and other activist groups, Apple made an announcement on its website on Thursday, May 17, 2012:

Apple’s data center in Maiden, North Carolina, will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity. We’ll be producing an unprecedented 60 percent of this power onsite. To do that, we’re building what will be the nation’s largest private solar arrays and the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country.

The energy from these solar and fuel cell installations will be registered with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Tracking System (NC-RETS) established by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

And for the rest of the power required, Apple adds:

While we’ll produce 60 percent of the power used by our Maiden data center onsite, we’ll meet the remaining 40 percent of our energy needs by directly purchasing clean, renewable energy generated by local and regional sources.

The types of energy at other data centers (in Newark CA and planned in Prinville OR) were also addressed by Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer in a telephone interview.

While Apple’s California data center doesn’t generate power on-site, it will use only renewable sources by February 2013, he said. The Oregon facility will open using only renewable energy.”

  • Ten Bears

    Prineville is my backyard, the eastern corner of High Desert Community Radio’s broadcast footprint. “Renewable” in that it is hydro/electric from The Dalles Dam on the Colombia River, just a hundred miles to the north. Other than some innovative on/site super/green energy savings strategies, there really isn’t much that wold be “forward thinking”. Hydro/electric is, of course, to the corporate world the ultimate “renewable resource”. 

    Not necessarily trivia… Prineville was the territorial seat for the Wasco Territories, the Southern Oregon Territories, southern being south of the Colombia, and is pretty much the oldest city of the Oregon Territories. A classic combination of farming, ranching, logging and lumber town, with an official unemployment of around 18% it has probably been hit the hardest in these past twenty years. The mills all closed when the woods shut down, which trickled down through the support community with ever more job losses, and in turn a high level of attrition as people left an already small community (less than 10,000) to merely survive. What Google, now Apple and potentially Facebook have done is put a new face on the recovery here on the Oregon High Desert. 

    Not that it employs a lot of people… about fifty at the operational Google facitlity. And sadly, though a sizable subset of the High Desert’s 13 and 15 plus percent unemployemt are construction workers, these big projects are bid out to construction outfits from Portland or Seattle that bring in their own crews. The trickle out from the construction may be a couple of hundred odd/ball jobs, nothing like the touted “thousands”.

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