Apple announced today that its global operations are now powered by 100% renewable energy after years of work in 43 countries around the world.
The news comes as the culmination of years of effort by the consumer electronics behemoth in its push to combat climate change and create a healthier environment. Apple’s announcement means that all of its data centers, retail stores, offices and co-located facilities in 43 countries around the world are now 100% powered by renewable energy – truly a feat worth celebrating.
“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it. After years of hard work we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”
The journey to 100% renewable energy has taken years, with a slow progression of solar installations, wind farm energy contracts, and new facilities starting up on 100% renewables like its high-tech 400,000-square-foot data center that is on track for startup in 2020 in Waukee, Iowa.
Apple is stretching beyond the borders of its own properties with a push to clean up its supply chain through a program dedicated to encouraging its upstream manufacturing partners to power their operations with renewable energy. Apple’s announcement today comes bundled with news that another 9 manufacturers have committed to powering their Apple-specific production with 100% clean energy, which takes the total number of suppliers in the program up to 23.
Acknowledging that the move to 100% renewable energy takes time and significant effort, Apple established the Apple Clean Energy Portal, which is an online platform that the company developed to help suppliers identify commercially viable renewable energy solutions in regions around the world.
Last year, one of Apple’s component suppliers, Ibiden, was added to that number as the first supplier in Japan to join the program after committing to 20 new renewable energy projects in Japan, including an impressive floating solar farm, to offset the energy used to produce components for Apple.
Stepping back and looking at the big picture of Apple’s operations reveals a massive amount of power consumption, led by the data centers that power some of Apple’s most well-known products like iMessage, Siri, and the App Store.
Apple’s renewable energy projects around the world amount to a staggering 626 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity, with 286 MW coming from photovoltaic solar production that came online in 2017 alone. Another 15 projects are in construction which, when complete, will bring its portfolio to 1.4 gigawatts of renewable energy generation in 11 countries.
The iconic Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, was built with renewables in mind from day one, with the roof of the building covered in a 17 MW rooftop solar installation that is paired with 4 MW of biogas fuel cells. It is currently the largest LEED Platinum-certified office building in North America that brings together solar, biogas, batteries, and a microgrid controller to keep everything playing nicely together to meet the energy needs of the facility. Like a good neighbor, the facility also sends clean energy back to the grid when the energy demands at the campus are down.
Apple achieving 100% renewable energy for all of its operations globally is an impressive feat that begs the question to other corporations around the world: If Apple can do it, why can’t you?
The achievement informs consumers around the world that it’s not only possible for massive publicly traded global corporations to source 100% of their energy from renewables, but that its also the right financial decision. Maybe instead of asking a question, we should be making demands – if your products are not made with 100% renewable energy, we won’t buy them, because now, we have alternatives, thanks to Apple.
Apple’s products have created entire markets and categories with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad leading the charge into their respective categories, and the announcement today makes it clear that Apple continues to push the envelope with respect to renewable energy. Thanks, Apple.
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