Apple’s largest data centre now fully renewable powered

22 Mar 2013


Apple Inc's largest US data centre is now greener and running entirely on renewable energy, with the bulk of the power generated on-site from solar panels and fuel cells, the company's chief financial officer, Peter Oppenheimer, told Reuters yesterday.

The data centre in Maiden, North Carolina, which supports internet storage and Apple's service-hosting iCloud product, generates 167 million KW the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for a year -- from a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installations provided by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy, he said.

According to Oppenheimer this was the largest, non-utility power-generating facilities of its kind in the US.

He added Apple switched over to the new energy sources in December and the company was committed to generating 60 per cent of the electricity that the data center would use by making power on site and Apple was now achieving that goal.

The rest of the green power needed at the facility is purchased by the company.

Apple and other technology companies including Amazon and Microsoft that build and run computer server farms have been criticised for their high consumption of electricity and other resources.

These data centres catered to an explosion in internet traffic, streaming content through mobile devices and hosting of services to corporations.

According to Oppenheimer, Apple had switched many of its corporate facilities to fully operate on green power, including those in Austin, Texas; Cork, Ireland; and Sacramento, California.

In the past by environmentalists had said the iPhone maker had not been doing enough to keep its product line as clean and green as it should.

Greenpeace, for instance, last year, went so far as to call Apple the "dirtiest" of the technology giants because of the way it powered its vast data centres.

Greenpeace spokesman Dave Pomerantz had said at the time that Apple was falling behind companies like Google and Facebook, who were taking a leadership role on the issue. He added, it was a shame that a company that built its reputation on thinking differently was now behind the curve.

Yesterday however Apple's success in getting greener came in for commendation from Greenpeace.

According to Gary Cook, an IT analyst for the group, there was a lot to be pleased about in Apple's annual environmental progress report. He added, the information they put out showed that Apple had made some real progress and renewed its commitment to an even greener future.

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