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back to article Apple: Our data centers are green. The other 98% of what we do ...

After a vigorous campaign by Greenpeace to highlight the carbon-spewing computer halls of the cloud giants, Apple has announced it is feeding its data centers entirely with renewable energy. Apple's flagship Maiden, North Carolina data center is now supplied by 100 per cent renewable energy, with 42 million kWh coming from an on …

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Anonymous Coward

Now if they can just put some solar panels on their phones.

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Anonymous Coward

I can just see it now...

My phone stops working when I take a call...

That's because you're putting your hand over the solar cells, try holding it differently....

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Mushroom

Better yet a mini nuclear reactor.

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WTF?

Nice solar array

Pity about all of the trees that were cut down for it.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Apple+Data+Center,+Maiden,+North+Carolina&hl=en&ll=35.586925,-81.254647&spn=0.016892,0.0418&sll=35.634116,-80.570202&sspn=2.160777,5.350342&oq=apple++north+carolina&t=w&hq=Apple+Data+Center,&hnear=Maiden,+Catawba,+North+Carolina&z=15

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Re: Nice solar array

North Carolina is about 90% trees - it's an amazing place to fly low over, and I've taken a lot of wide-angle tourist photos from mountain viewpoints there, where all you can see is undulating forest to the horizon.

This is (to mix a metaphor) a drop in the ocean in terms of tree reduction.

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Happy

Apple goes green.

Awwwww!

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This explains their recent poaching of Adobe's Flash-loving CTO...

...they've covered Steve in magnets, his posthumous spinning is powering the whole operation!

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Silver badge

Does anybody really???

CARE??

Other than a small minority of tree stranglers?

Looks nice though, as most window dressing does. No real value!

How much "green" did it cost to make the solar panels over their expected lifetime? Please tell me. Maybe I can be "green" as well with "standby" power from the utility. A solar cell from a cheap calculator might work. OOOPS I need backup power!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does anybody really???

Greenpeace is happy. Maybe they can patent a power system that run's on their userbase smugness, although that might break some thermodynamics laws.

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HMB

Re: Does anybody really???

"Maybe they [Greenpeace] can patent a power system that run's on their userbase smugness"

Well... that should be able to power the world for millennia with no carbon emissions! What an amazing thing that could be, if only we could really power the world on that.

Such a shame there isn't actually a low carbon form of power generation that's reliable, affordable and could last us for millennia. If only.... Greenpeace would love it! ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does anybody really???

"Smugness"? Your off-the-chart smugness, sir, could power all of Western Europe for millennia.

I'll never understand why some people can't understand the "pot, kettle" law. You deride others with the same insufferable arrogance that you accuse them of.

Grow up, asswipe.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Alternative power system

Yes, such a power system would absolutely radiate brilliance and be a glowing testimonial to human ingenuity :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does anybody really???

Excellent example how smugness is perpetual, addictive and renewable. I think we have something here.

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if I stored data in the "cloud"...

I'd be less worried about the green aspects and more concerned with reliability and accessibility.

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Stop

Another cog in the Great Green Swindle

Biogas:

Directed biogas is a buzzword for natural gas that has a long paper trail. Perhaps even a few cow farts. directedbiogas.com

Money:

Apple is probably making money on this - at the expense of other electric ratepayers in the state, as is customary for all 'green' energy initiatives.

'Just' troll through this page to try and figure out how much all this benefits Apple.

http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-rebates-and-incentives/north-carolina/

"A maximum of $2.5 million* per installation for all solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, combined heat and power (as defined by Section 48 of the U.S. Tax Code), and biomass applications** used for a business purpose***, including PV, daylighting, solar water-heating and space-heating technologies."

PLUS, If you have the legal people willing to wade through all these programs, you can see how it might pay off.

NC GreenPower Production Incentive

TVA - Green Power Switch Generation Partners Program

Property Tax Abatement for Solar Electric Systems

Active Solar Heating and Cooling Systems Exemption

Sales Tax Holiday for Energy-Efficient Appliances

North Carolina Green Business Fund

Energy Improvement Loan Program (EILP)

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Silver badge
Flame

Re: Another cog in the Great Green Swindle

The biogas Apple is using comes from a landfill. How is using it to generate electricity in any way a bad thing? It is fortunate that landfills and energy users are starting to look for ways to utilize this waste product rather than simply burning it up as most of it currently is (even that is only being done because the EPA wouldn't let them simply vent it to the atmosphere as was the practice a few decades ago)

You're either one of the people who finds a flaw in any sort of renewable energy (wind kills birds, solar uses energy to build panels, geothermal will "run out of steam") or an Apple hater who would find a way to hate on them even if they were using a zero point energy extraction method personally invented by Steve Jobs a week before he died to power their datacenters.

Sure, this isn't as clean as not building any data center would have been, and like any big company they're on the lookout for any tax advantage they can get, but the lawmakers put those incentives in place to get projects like this to happen. If they didn't want companies of Apple's size to take advantage of them they would have written that into the laws.

Isn't it better than just hooking up to the local coal powered utility and telling them "hey, we're going to be drawing a lot of megawatts soon, better buy more coal!" Because that's pretty much what happened when anything drawing this amount of power was built not so long ago. Whether they did it for tax advantage, PR advantage, the local power grid not having sufficient capacity, or because they're simply being good citizens is irrelevant. It is still a good thing, even if you think it isn't good "enough".

Flame icon, since that's what would have happened to a lot of coal had they not made these renewable energy investments.

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Re: Another cog in the Great Green Swindle

$2.5m? That's absolutely peanuts compared to the amount of tax credits big companies are given by the NC authorities to move in and set up shop. And incidentally pay thousands of locals a living wage.

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Re: Another cog in the Great Green Swindle

Apple will make money directly, like all other green energy providers. In addition they are scoring a huge PR win. How come none of their website PR stuff mentions that this is all done on the backs of the taxpayer? Yes of course the government wants these silly projects to go ahead, as comments like your proves that these programs garner votes, at least until the bills need to be paid.

Look at Germany, a 'green energy leader. They are in the process of adding coal plants - up to 25 of them. But the US - with no Kyoto or anything to push them other than economics, is lowering carbon output, all from replacing coal with natural gas.

Had the millions that Apple spent been spent on a natural gas plant instead of solar, carbon output would have dropped more. But solar is a PR and subsidy win. Hence the 'great green swindle'.

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Bronze badge
Coat

What about the core?

Apples with rotten cores can still be "green" on the outside.

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Anyone using non-renewable sources should be burned at the stake, but under a glass bell, so that resulting dioxide could be captured and stored.

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Mushroom

Doesn't matter if production is more polluting than ever

Apple's spin doctors have it right: Greenpeace is here for the show, not to look at reality and fix the real problems.

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Thumb Up

Normally I am one of the first in line for a bit of Apple bashing (tech scrumping?)

But I totally salute this move, we work in the most polluting of industries so anything that can help is minimise the impact environmentally is a huge thumbs up.

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bit excessive

It is ridiculous to suggest the use of non-renewable back-up generators is 'disingenuous'.

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Go

Anti green lobby...

Never really understood the Anti Green Lobby. It's OK to make money from polluting energy sources, but it is never OK to make money from renewable resources. It is OK for the government to subsidise polluting energy sources, but never OK for green energy. It is OK for gas prices to go up because of demand, but then blame the subsidies to renewable sources of energy, which is supposed to help us reduce reliance on gas, thus protecting us from future price hikes.

So, back to topic, I do applaud the likes of Apple help reduce reliance on scarce resources. I think it's not enough, but a step in the right direction. Apple should be congratulated and encouraged more. In the long run this will help the company reduce it's energy bills. Maybe they should also force/encourage their suppliers to start being more energy efficient and also use renewable sources of energy. Admittedly this will need to be done overtime rather than overnight and something needs to be put in contracts.

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Re: Anti green lobby...

I am sure that the people at Apple are a happy bunch, everyone smiles as they take money away from the poor. :) Look up fuel poverty. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20751708

The 'subsidies' on almost all industries are negative. They all pay taxes, lots of taxes. Except for 'Green Energy'.

Ever wondered why the biggest energy companies in the world own and run 80% of the wind and solar? The answer is because it makes lots of money. Gasoline and Oil are not really tied to any green energy projects, as they do different things. Only 0.001% of cars are electric.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Anti green lobby...

You need to understand that brown energy sources have been subsidised on way or another through taxes in the past. The shale gas is being given tax incentives while "green" energy sources are being taxed directly from our bills to invest in alternative sources for energy.

As for fuel poverty, this is inevitable if we are using "brown" energy sources as the prices are set by how much demand there is for those resources. We can keep the cost of fuel down by using tax money, but that means we pay higher taxes. As global demand for gas/coal/oil increases so will the cost of our energy bills meaning fuel poverty will increase.

This means we need to look at alternative sources such as wind (on shore/offshore/urban), solar, wave, geothermal and even nuclear (I know not green). I don't believe there is one solution, we need to combine all the solutions in an integrated grid. As an example, some parts of country will have more sun, other parts will have wind. We can combine this with using storage systems and smart grid that know hows how much fuel will be needed to produce energy at any given time of the day.

Whilst this is happening we need to encourage people and businesses to use less energy by using energy efficient devices. Companies like Apple need to keep driving efficiencies in terms of energy use in manufacturing, data centres, office buildings and they technology they sell to us consumers.

Energy poverty can be solved using the benefits system to the people that NEED it the most using some form of credit like they do with over 60's. And if someone chooses to buy iDevices and not afford to pay for the roof over their head, food or energy to keep them warm then they need to be re-educated as to where their priorities should be.

In the meantime we all need to do our bit to keep prices down by using energy wisely so there is enough to go around while we build alternative sources of energy. We are lucky we don't get many blackouts compared with other countries.

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Why'd they build in North Carolina

I thought the point of data centers in North Carolina was the cheap, coal-fueled leccy?

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Re: Why'd they build in North Carolina

If they wanted to build in a good place, then Quebec, with 100% carbon free power and cold temperatures, would be ideal. The ping is about 3 ms longer to virgnia, and a bit less to NYC. Or for an American one, just over the Quebec border would work well.

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