Apple’s Facilities ‘Now Run Entirely On Renewable Energy’

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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But the move only scratches the surface, argues Greenpeace, since the vast majority of pollution occurs in the manufacturing supply chain

All of Apple’s facilities worldwide now run on “clean” power sources such as wind farms and solar arrays, the company has said.

The facilities include Apple’s retail shops, offices, data centres and co-location facilities in 43 countries, including the UK, the US, China and India.

Apple said nine additional manufacturing partners have committed to powering their Apple production wholly with clean energy, bringing the total of partner commitments to 23.

“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,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook in a prepared statement.

An Apple data centre

Clean energy

The power sources Apple uses include transparent solar panels in China that allow yaks to graze underneath them, and rooftop solar panels in Japan and Singapore.

Other sources include wind farms in the US and emerging technologies such as biogas fuel cells.

The company’s recently completed Apple Park headquarters in Cupertino is powered in part by an onsite rooftop solar installation and four megawatts of biogas fuel cells.

Apple said it has worked with local utilities on projects including solar power generation.

Data centres currently under construction in places such as Iowa and Denmark are to run entirely on renewable energy as soon as they begin operations.

Apple supplierIbiden, based outside Nagoya, Japan, now powers all its manufacturing from a floating solar photovoltaic facility, Apple said.

Demand from major companies such as Apple, Wal-Mart and Google has helped drive increased production of solar panels and wind turbines, and reduce prices.

Apple said it was not spending more than it would have otherwise on power, due to competitive clean energy prices.

Scratching the surface?

The company said it is giving preference to suppliers that use renewable energy, and would move toward making a commitment to clean energy a requirement in the future.

In October of last year Greenpeace said Apple was ahead of some other electronics companies, including Samsung and Huawei, on the use of renewable energy.

But the campaign group said most pollution occurs while products are being manufactured by suppliers, meaning Apple’s moves are only scratching the surface.

Apple is, however, the only company that has committed to eventually using only renewable power in its supply chain, Greenpeace said.

But it noted Apple, along with Samsung, Microsoft and others, is “moving in the wrong direction” on product design, making devices that are difficult to upgrade or repair, meaning they have a shorter lifespan.

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