Apple is expanding its use of clean energy to power its iCloud data centers, with the company’s Prineville, Ore., facility now flanked by a small hydroelectric project acquired by the iPhone maker.
The company’s new purchase was revealed on Saturday by The Oregonian, which noted that initial proposals for the project indicated it would generate between 3 and 5 megawatts –?enough to power 2,000 to 3,500 homes, but still only a tiny amount of the power Apple will need to run the facility
The 45-mile project is located near Haystack Reservoir in a Jefferson County irrigation canal about 20 miles from Prineville. The price Apple paid for the project is unknown, but the previous owner, EBD Hydro, reportedly secured some $8.5 million in federal loans and grants to help finance it.
Apple’s Oregon data center already utilizes wind energy, as does its California center. Apple also relies on the largest privately owned solar farm in the country for its Maiden, N.C., operation, while its upcoming Nevada center will utilize solar and geothermal energy.
Apple began construction of the Prineville facility in October of 2012, clearing and flattening the land where the two 338,000 square-foot buildings would eventually stand. Land preparation and construction are thought to have cost Apple around $68 million. Including server hardware, construction costs, and labor costs, the facility is expected to cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars — perhaps billions.
And last September, it was revealed that Apple was looking to double the size of its Oregon data center, as the company was looking to purchase more land at a nearby location that would house a second structure of equal size. Apple is also paying some $150,000 each year to the governments of Prineville and Crook County in return for a 15-year property tax exemption.
UK-based green energy supplier Ecotricity recently celebrated passing the 100,000 customer mark, saying it had grown 40% in just one year.
And it’s not alone.
The Guardian’s Jennifer Rankin reports that Good Energy, Ecotricity’s main rival in the UK’s deregulated energy market, also saw a major jump in profits, with customer numbers rising 32% in 2013.
The announcement comes, says Rankin, amid a growing debate over the “Big Six” energy producers and their virtual stranglehold over the market:
The political furore over energy prices has put small providers into the limelight like never before. Last year, Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, called for “a vast new army of disruptive new energy players” to turn a market dominated by the big six into the “big 60,000″. The big six comprise Centrica, SSE, RWE npower, E.ON, Scottish Power and EDF.
With rival Ecotricity maintaining a price freeze to gouge customers from the incumbents, and with distributed solar power going decidedly mainstream in the UK, the major utilities would do well to rethink their market positioning right now.
Earth Day 2014 is shaping up to be a huge success, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Several countries in the region will have Earth Day events this year, including Tunisia, Ghana, Oman, and Iraq, just to name a few.
In Tunisia, the Maya Organization, an NGO hosted by the Higher Institute of Applied Biological Sciences of Tunis (ISSBAT) that promotes sustainable clean technologies and adaptation to climate change, will be hosting the “Go Greener Maya Competition,” through which university students will propose projects ideas to reduce, recycle and/or reuse waste within ISSBAT. The success of this micro-project will help the school decrease the amount of waste it produces. The best project idea winners will be announced on April 22nd and will receive an award.
In Ghana, the 4-H Million Tree Project is conducting a number of tree planting events at schools in celebration of Earth Day. In particular, the 4-Hers will start a mango tree planting project. The fruit will be sold to local retailers who make mango juice and the mango trees planted by 4-H students will help raise incomes among community members.
In Oman, students of GUtech, German University of Technology in Oman, are organizing an annual Earth Day Event at Al Sahwa Park. They will promote “green life” by selling local fresh products and encouraging people to plant trees. The event will also offer a variety of fun and educational opportunities for kids directed at teaching them how they can improve the world around them by planting trees and flowers.
And in Iraq, the Iraqi Green Peace Organization plans to create environmental clubs in primary schools and teach children how to protect the city and increase green spaces. Afterwards, they will work with the students on a volunteer reforestation campaign for schools, where they will be partnering with local foundations and volunteers from the community.
These are just a few of the hundreds of Earth Day events in Latin America and the Middle East. We wish all the participants the best of luck!
Apple will be celebrating Earth Day 2014 next Tuesday, April 22 throughout its various retail locations and at its main campus, reports 9to5Mac.
The company will color its logos in green for the occasion, as employees will wear special shirts with an event planned at Apple’s headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California. Apple last celebrated Earth Day in 2006 by holding a free computer takeback program in honor of the event.
Apple has remained active in its environment efforts throughout the past few years, which include powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy, expanding its recycling program, and reporting on its carbon footprint. Last May, Apple also hired former Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson to lead the company’s environmental responsibility efforts.
Environmental activist group Greenpeace also featured Apple as a “green energy innovator” in its latest report earlier this month, praising the company for its commitment to renewable energy after taking issues with previous efforts.
Earth Day is all about appreciating and protecting our natural resources. This upcoming Tuesday marks the 44th Earth Day, and while we all may acknowledge the day, it can be a challenge to think of ways to celebrate it beyond wearing green.
However, there are plenty of ways to make the most of Earth Day that help keep you, and the planet, healthy.
Enjoy the Outdoors
What better way to celebrate the Earth than by going out and enjoying it? Whether you walk, run, skate, skip, or bike, take some time on Tuesday (and every day) to go outside. Doing so will increase your appreciation for the planet, and you’ll fit some exercise into your day.
Eco-Friendly Easter Eggs
Easter is on Sunday and Earth Day is on Tuesday, which makes it the perfect time to celebrate the two days at once. Instead of buying packaged dye full of artificial dyes for your eggs, go the natural route. Cranberry and grape juices can be used, or you can experiment and make your own dyes.
Eat Earth-friendly foods
It’s a fact that some foods are more Earth-friendly than others. They add nutrients back into the Earth and provide shelter for wildlife. In many cases, the most Earth-friendly foods are grown and made locally without creating greenhouse gasses or using fossil fuels. Quinoa, honey, and shade-grown chocolate are all delicious Earth- and health-friendly options.
A great way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant something, be it a houseplant, tree, or an entire garden. If you go the garden route, not only will you be adding more green into the world, but you’ll also be supplying yourself with fresh fruit and vegetables all season long!