Apple is now using 100% Renewable Energy at its Data Centers. Apple released new data recently regarding its carbon footprint worldwide, confirming that the company has achieved 100 percent renewable energy across all its data centers. To achieve this, Apple uses a mix of solar, fuel cells and renewable energy to achieve their goals in clean energy. At the base of the green data center Apple has a series of 10 megawatt fuel cells working on natural gas. This is one of the reasons amongst others that keeps Apple’s data centers in line with other leading datacentre suppliers like Artmotion. Apple recently stated that all of its data centers are powered by renewable energy. The way in which Apple has been able to reach this impressive milestone reflects the complexity of the transition to renewable resources. When fully operational, the green data center will have 20-megawatt solar installation located on 100 acres and will supply 42 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year.
Apple’s green data centers show that it has made real progress in its commitment to lead the way to a clean energy future. Apple’s increased level of disclosure about its energy sources helps customers know that their iCloud is powered by clean energy sources, not coal. As it keeps growing the cloud, Apple still has major roadblocks to meeting its 100 per cent clean energy commitment in North Carolina, where renewable energy policies are under siege and electric utility Duke Energy is intent on blocking wind and solar energy from entering the grid.
How Apple’s 100% Green Data Centers Work?
In its annual report Apple has described in detail how their data centers, the centers in charge of Apple’s online services, can claim to operate exclusively with renewable energy. The project consists of the main data center in Maiden, North Carolina, which includes the completion of an expanse of solar panels by 20 megawatts by the end of the year. However, Data centers require the so called basic energy which is a minimum amount of energy to ensure at any time and emergency reserves in the event of failure of the mains supply.
“Our investments are paying off. We’ve already 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,” Apple states.
Fuel Cells and Bio-gas
To obtain these resources Apple has installed a set of 10 megawatt fuel cells, the largest central not associated with an electric company. Bloom Energy’s fuel cells convert natural gas into electricity. Since Apple is buying into biogas credits from another company, it can be argued that data centers operate with renewable sources. Biogas is the gas that is captured from landfills or from animal wastes. So in a sense you could say Apple Data Center does the Fuel Cell Industry a huge favor.
Similarly, Apple is buying renewable energy from markets located in the vicinity of its other data centers, such as wind network in Oregon and California. According to its environmental report the priority is to generate renewable energy on site but where this is not possible the company provides to purchase from other suppliers.
Use of Eco-friendly Technology
Noteworthy is the mix of energy sources provided at the Apple data center in Reno, Nevada. The center makes extensive use of solar energy but Apple also plans to exploit geothermal resources in Nevada which could constitute the basic energy. This combination could lead to a data center car powered by renewable energy.
As the Eco-friendliness of renewable energy has secured the bulk of their attention, it should be noted that Apple has invested approximately the same amount of resources to ensure the best possible energy efficiency of their relays. The complex of Maiden, for example, is equipped with massive tanks of cold water installed to allow the system to reduce the use of chillers during the peak demand and thus reduce the energy consumption of the center. The complex also boasts an impressive management system of ventilation to minimize energy consumption at times when you cannot use natural ventilation. In a data center cooling is usually half of the total energy consumption.
These efforts are a direct response to critics brought forth by Greenpeace last year when the nonprofit accused Apple of using non-renewable energy sources to power its data centers.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the chief financial officer of Apple, Peter Oppenheimer said that these efforts will lead to concepts from which other businesses and communities will benefit.