Apple’s data centers to be powered by water? [update]

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Date: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 09:44
Category: Apple, Business, Environment, News, The Apple Core

green-energy-plugI don’t think Greenpeace can say that Apple isn’t trying. Apple’s huge data center in North Carolina, which powers iCloud, uses huge amounts of power, and until recently has been utilizing available sources of energy which are primarily coal-burning sources such as those supplied by companies such as North Carolina’s Duke Energy. This is something about which Apple has been catching flak from environmentalists, but late last year, Apple took control of a project built by Earth By Design (EBD), a Oregon-based developer of green energy, that uses small Kaplan turbines built adjacent to a local irrigation canal. According to WIRED;

“[...] a regulatory filing [says that] the project will generate 5 megawatts of power, enough electricity to power a small town, but a fraction of what Apple’s Prineville, Oregon, data center will ultimately require. As users increasingly store their data and photos in the iCloud, Apple has been forced to rapidly ramp up the number of servers it runs in the iCloud. In the past few years, the company has developed new data centers in Prineville, Maiden, North Carolina, and Reno, Nevada.”

Greenpeace has lauded this as a groundbreaking move by Apple. According to Greenpeace analyst Gary Cook, “This is certainly the first time I’ve seen this being this done by a private company and not a utility.”. Meanwhile, other companies have turned to solar and wind to power their data centers which is just as important in the move towards more responsible power usage by major technology companies.

 

Update:

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the 45-Mile Hydroelectric Project and how it works, check out Jason O’Grady’s post on ZDNet.

 

 

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