Apple now uses only renewable energy sources for all of its data centers, the company reported in an update to its environmental commitments Wednesday.
A 100-acre solar farm erected next to its largest data center in Maiden, North Carolina, in addition to fuel cells that convert biogas into energy, contribute 60 percent of the data center’s energy resources, with the balance sourced from other local sites.
Apple was dinged by Greenpeace International in an April 2012 report for using fossil fuels and coal to power its operations. Apple completed its solar farm in December and has now “achieved 100 percent renewable energy at all of our data centers, at our facilities in Austin, Elk Grove, Cork, and Munich, and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino.” Worldwide, Apple uses 75 percent renewable energy but promises it “won’t stop working” until it reaches 100 percent.
Of Apple’s new solar farm, Greenpeace International Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook stated, “Apple still has major roadblocks to meeting its 100 % clean energy commitment in North Carolina,” noting that renewable energy policies are “under siege” and the local electric utility, Duke Energy, is “intent on blocking wind and solar energy from entering the grid.” Apple plans to build a second 20-megawatt solar energy facility near the North Carolina data center, set to be operational in late 2013.