Apple says its global facilities now run entirely on clean energy

10 Apr 2018

Ibiden, a component supplier for Apple outside Nagoya, Japan, maintains a floating solar photovoltaic facility to power 100pc of its manufacturing. Image: Apple

Apple announces that its global facilities are powered with 100pc clean energy.

Apple’s business is now powered entirely by renewable energy, in a major victory for the tech giant.

As a company, Apple has been committed to achieving this goal for the last number of years, having reached 93pc clean energy power in March 2016.

Its 2017 environmental responsibility noted that Apple went on to achieve the feat of 96pc of its global operations around the world being powered by renewable energy by the end of 2016.

Nine more of the company’s manufacturing partners have committed to powering all of their Apple production with renewable energy, making a total of 23 supplier commitments overall.

A major milestone

“After years of hard work, we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone,” Tim Cook said in a statement yesterday (9 April).

“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.”

All of Apple’s data centres have been powered by clean energy since 2014 and the company added that greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities have been reduced by 54pc globally due to its green efforts. The Cupertino headquarters runs on renewable energy, including a 17MW rooftop panel project and 4MW of biogas fuel cells.

There are some technicalities in terms of the ‘100pc’ renewable figures. Companies such as Apple and Google who have reached this milestone use it to signify that they purchase enough clean energy to offset their formidable global power consumption.

Some obstacles remain before every single unit of power used by the company is 100pc clean, but there are plans in place to change this. Apple facilities powered by municipal grids – such as their retail stores – cannot reliably use clean energy as you cannot determine the source of the power once it enters the grid.

To offset this, Apple buys renewable energy certificates, which guarantee the cleanliness of an energy source. Dependencies on electric grids, issues in manufacturing hubs such as China and utility monopolies in certain regions are roadblocks towards Apple’s vision for every single facility in all 43 countries in which it has a presence running on 100pc clean energy.

Clean energy vision

In a positive turn for its global suppliers, those who have committed to using clean energy helped to prevent 1.5m metric tonnes of greenhouse gases from being emitted in 2017 – that’s equal to taking more than 300,000 cars off the road.

Apple also invests in other clean energy projects around the globe and the firm has 25 such projects in operation. Apple is keen to fund and build its own energy projects, and two-thirds of its endeavours are carried out in this way.

Cook pledged: “We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects