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Monday, November 21, 2016
As Apple stores, data centers and warehouses expand across
the globe, the company is looking toward supplying renewable energy… for itself.
Walmart and Google both prioritize renewable energy projects
as well, each hoping to eventually get to 100% renewable power. Energy use has
skyrocketed in the past few years due to the cloud. So, companies supporting
this data have needed to look for alternative ways to support these systems.
Apple's new solar farm through First Solar
Photo Source: NY Times
Companies, as energy wholesalers and efficient users of
energy, can reduce their plug loads drastically, reducing operation
costs. However, many of these companies are equally focused on the
environmental benefits; they understand how necessary it is to change with the times and adopt new energy- and money-saving technologies. Energy production is one of the biggest contributors to
greenhouse gas emissions, and so companies committed to a clean and renewable
future want to minimize these emissions through supplying and using renewable
Apple is always looking for new and creative ways to
increase its dependence on renewable energy especially as energy from renewable
sources continues to drop and be competitive. The company recently went under
contract with First Solar to, over 25 years, purchase a new solar farm’s full
energy output. This contract allows Apple to be at least somewhat autonomous in
its energy purchases and not be subject to higher prices from bigger power
The number of corporate renewable energy programs and
projects doubled from 2013 to 2014 and again from 2014 to 2015 (see image from the BRC). However, while companies are installing
large-scale solar projects and purchasing clean energy from local biomass
generators for some of their facilities, there is still much to accomplish. The
grid is still monopolized by carbon-based energy sources. So, even if a company
is dedicated to 100% renewable power, there’s no way to guarantee all energy
from the grid is renewable.
Apple, Walmart, Google, and others like MacDonald’s and GM
are working with World Resources Institute to determine how to meet the demand
for renewable energy in the corporate world. This is a global issue that will
only become more serious.
The good news? Some of the biggest and
most influential companies and research institutions committed to this energy
supply problem, and so we will see a faster and much more wide spread adoption of technology advances, policy changes and