Business, Economics and Jobs

Apple’s data centers to be powered by green energy


The Apple logo at Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco.



Apple Inc. has announced that its new $1 billion data center in Maiden, NC, will run entirely on renewable energy by the end of the year, PC Magazine reported.

The company said it will buy 40 percent of its power from local and regional renewable energy sources and produce the rest of its power onsite from its own solar farms, according to PC Magazine.

Apple said it will build two solar farms, covering 250 acres, that will provide 84 million kWh of energy annually to the North Carolina facility, Reuters reported.

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According to Reuters:

Concerns about the ever-expanding power consumption of computer data centers have mounted in recent years, as technology giants build enormous facilities housing servers to cater to an explosion in Internet traffic, multimedia use and enterprise services hosting, via cloud computing.

In a study released in April, Greenpeace criticized Apple for building the data center in North Carolina, PC Magazine reported. The state has "an electrical grid among the dirtiest in the country," so choosing to build a massive data center there "indicates a lack of corporate commitment to clean energy supply for its cloud operations,” Greenpeace said at the time.

"I'm not aware of any other company producing energy onsite at this scale," Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer told Reuters. "The plan we are releasing today includes two solar farms and together they will be twice as big as we previously announced, thanks to the purchase of some land very near to the data center in Maiden, which will help us meet this goal."

Apple’s other two data centers – an existing facility in Newark, Calif., and a new facility being constructed in Prineville, Ore. – will also be weaned off of coal-generated power, Bloomberg News reported. The California data center will use only renewable sources by Feb. 2013, and the Oregon data center will use only renewable energy once it opens, Oppenheimer told Bloomberg News.

Apple will use solar panels manufactured by San Jose, Calif.- based SunPower Corp. and fuel cells from Bloom Energy Corp., a Sunnyvale, Calif., company, in its North Carolina facility.

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