A monumental milestone was met this month as Apple now runs on 100 percent renewable energy.
Apple has data centers, retail stores, facilities, and offices in 43 countries. As of this month the company announced all of them are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
“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, CEO of Apple.
Just last year, Apple announced they were only 3 percent away from reaching the monumental goal. The company has been edging toward this goal for years although all of Apple’s data centers have been running on clean energy since 2014.
Some Apple operations take power from the grid. Apple stores, which are powered by municipal power grids, are unable to use green energy because the grids cannot determine the source of the electricity that enters them. Apple makes up for these situations by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs)—a tradable commodity that ensures clean energy.
The company met its renewable energy goal by helping its suppliers make the switch to green energy as well. As of this month, 23 of Apple’s suppliers have committed to matching their goal of running on 100 percent renewable energy. The company claims clean energy from Apple’s supplier projects alone have helped prevent the emission of more than 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases (CO2e) in 2017.
What Sets Apple Renewable Energy Efforts Apart
Renewable energy is not a foreign concept in the tech industry, but what sets the company apart from other corporations is that it invests in Apple renewable energy projects around the world. Be it from solar, wind, or other renewable energy plants, Apple works actively to ensure any of its new offices and facilities fully operate on clean energy. Its top choice is to fund and build Apple renewable energy projects, but that is not always possible.
“Where it is not feasible to build our own generation, we sign long-term renewable energy purchase contracts, supporting new, local, projects that meet our robust renewable energy sourcing principles,” according to Apple’s Environmental Responsibility Report.
The company ensures the long-term renewable energy purchase contracts (PPA’s) meet its requirements of being Green-e Energy certified, that it comes from the same power grid, and preferably from the same state as well. In addition, Apple commits to give back by putting excess green energy into the public grid.
“Apple currently has 25 operational renewable energy projects around the world, totaling 626 megawatts of generation capacity, with 286 megawatts of solar PV generation coming online in 2017,” according to an Apple press release. “It also has 15 more projects in construction. Once built, over 1.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy generation will be spread across 11 countries.”
New Apple Headquarters
Another way in which 100 percent Apple renewable energy was achieved is through the construction of the company’s brand new, record setting headquarters.
Dubbed “Apple Park,” the facility is located in Cupertino, California and sits on a 175-acre campus. The entire property is operated on 100 percent renewable energy, and is slated to be one of the largest on-site solar facilities in the world.
Apple Park’s features include:
- the world’s largest naturally ventilation system—requiring no air condition or heating 9 months of the year
- microgrid support
- 17 megawatts of rooftop solar
- 4 megawatts of biogas fuel cells
- backup fuel from a 130-megawatt solar project—built by First Solar and Monterey County
- batteries for solar energy storage
Setting an Example
Apple’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2011, it has reduced CO2e by 58 percent—preventing 2.2 million metric tons of it from entering the atmosphere. Moreover, meeting the 100 percent Apple renewable energy goal also means the company now joins the ranks of Google and Salesforce. The achievements of these tech giants is something Kevin Jones, Director of the Institute for Energy and Environment at Vermont Law School, greatly commends and recognizes as an example to be followed.
“Companies like Apple and Google are really setting the gold standard for the way governments and corporate entities should execute on their renewable goals,” said Jones.
Apple renewable energy is part of a larger sustainability initiative from Apple. Renewable materials are also a focal point for the massive tech company. Apple recently announced Daisy; an advanced robot that disassembles old iPhones in order to recycle and reuse their parts. The move also benefits customers as Apple gift cards are given in exchange for their iPhone donations.