Apple Once Again Announces Green Energy Plans
May 18, 2012

Apple Once Again Announces Green Energy Plans

Michael Harper for

Fret not, for your cloud may soon be green.

Apple has been targeted by Greenpeace over its energy consumption in its Maiden, North Carolina data center. Now, Apple is saying their 500,000 square foot center will be completely green by the end of the year, using only renewable energy sources to power it.

Apple made the announcement today after Greenpeace protested, campaigned and even had activists dress up as giant iPhones, according to TGDaily.

Going even further, Apple is saying their other data centers–an existing center in Newark, CA and one being built in Prineville, OR–will be powered with coal going forward, according to Bloomberg.

Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer spoke with Bloomberg and said, “We are leading the industry.”

“All three of our data centers will be coal free, which is an industry first for anybody of our size.”

Apple further reiterated their plan to generate 60% of Maiden´s facility power via fuel cells and a solar farm across the street.

While Apple announced these plans when they opened their data center, they have now provided Greenpeace with additional details, saying the purchase of another 150-acre site, located 2 miles away, is now complete. When each of Apple´s projects are completed, they´ll be able to generate 124 kilowatt-hours of power a year, according to Bloomberg.

The other 40% of their power will be coming from providers of renewable energy, such as Solar Panels from San Jose company SunPower Corp installed on their 100-acre solar farm. Apple will also use fuel cells from Bloom Energy Corp from Sunnyvale, CA, according to Oppenheimer.

Though Apple´s current California center doesn´t yet generate power on-site, Oppenheimer said they will only rely on renewable energy sources by February 2013. As for the new Oregon facility, Oppenheimer has said it will run on renewable energy on day one.

While it may seem as if Apple is announcing all these changes in response to Greenpeace´s “How Clean Is Your Cloud” report and the subsequent protesting, Oppenheimer only said Apple has had these plans in place since the facility opened.

These announcements certainly didn´t go unnoticed by Greenpeace, however.

“Apple´s announcement today is a great sign that Apple is taking seriously the hundreds of thousands of its customers who have asked for an iCloud powered by clean energy, not dirty coal,” Gary Cook, an analyst at Greenpeace International, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Apple uses their Maiden facility to run their iCloud services, which sync up data such as calendars, email and music across multiple devices.

Speaking with Reuters, Oppenheimer said the Prineville, Oregon plant is still in the planning stages, though they have already found “plenty” of renewable sources of energy nearby.

“We haven´t finalized our plans for on-site generation, but any power we need to run our center in Prineville that we get from the grid will be 100 percent renewable and locally generated sources,” the Apple CFO said.

Wall Street may also appreciate the notion of green energy, as Reuters is reporting shares in SunPower (Apple´s solar cell supplier) has jumped more than 9% on Thursday.