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Apple's North Carolina data center  (Source: allnewsmac.com)
Apple's report also details its electricity consumption and green efforts over the last year

Apple has made some considerable green contributions to the renewable energy effort recently, including the company's Maiden, North Carolina data center, which will feature the U.S.' largest end user-owned, onsite solar array.

According to Apple's 2012 Facilities Report and Environmental Update, which describes the company's energy savings and environmental footprint in Apple stores, data centers and R&D buildings, solar power will become a huge part of its Maiden, North Carolina data center. In fact, Apple is out to build the largest end user-owned solar array in the nation.

The onsite solar array surrounding the facility will be approximately 100 acres. It will be a 20-megawatt facility that will generate about 42 million kWh of clean energy on an annual basis. Next to it will be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S. as well, which will be a 5-megawatt facility generating 40 million kWh of 24x7 baseload of renewable energy annually.

The data center has already received some attention from the U.S. Green Building Council, which gave it LEED Platinum certification. Apple also mentioned that no other data center of its size has been awarded such a high level of LEED certification.

In addition to the Maiden, North Carolina data center, Apple has been making other green efforts to reduce its negative environmental impact. In 2011 alone, Apple consumed 493 million kWh of electricity as well as 3 million therms of natural gas. According to the report, Apple used renewable energy efforts to escape about 30 million kilograms of CO2e emissions. It has also managed to convert 54 million kWh of consumption annually to renewable energy in facilities around the world.

Apple seems to be joining the likes of other tech giants like Google, which has invested in many renewable energy initiatives such as a $75 million residential solar panel venture, the world's largest wind farm, and a $168 million investment in the Ivanpah solar electric generating system.

In December 2011, Apple patent applications described two new fuel cell-powered mobile device patents called "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device" and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."

Source: 9 to 5 Mac



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Oh, brother
By Dorkyman on 2/21/2012 10:16:19 AM , Rating: 2
Fuel cell technology is well-understood, with certain benefits and certain drawbacks, the biggest one being cost per KWh. So they are powering the data center in part with expensive power, just to make a point.

I've always wondered why big data centers aren't located in Alaska or Iceland, so that cooling costs are minimal.




RE: Oh, brother
By HrilL on 2/21/2012 11:36:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well the cost of running the cables to those areas would be quite high. You're not close to any other central networks and thus would have to build redundant routes. Latency also would be an issue as traffic would have to travel far to make it to a POP before it could get onto the network the client is on. Generating power is also an issue though on Iceland geothermal would be a good option. (This could work in some areas of Alaska as well) The extra costs of shipping everything from building materials to computer hardware would probably be a nonstarter as well.


RE: Oh, brother
By Connoisseur on 2/21/2012 11:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
There's also the human cost... You need dozens if not hundreds of IT people to manage large data centers. How many qualified candidates would want to live in Alaska year round?


RE: Oh, brother
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/21/2012 12:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds as if you are implying they are powering the Data Center with the Fuel Cell as it clearly states...

In December 2011, Apple patent applications described two new fuel cell-powered mobile device patents called " Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device " and " Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device ."

Not sure I would consider a DC either of those.


RE: Oh, brother
By fic2 on 2/21/2012 1:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you mean, as it clearly states:

Next to it will be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S. as well, which will be a 5-megawatt facility generating 40 million kWh of 24x7 baseload of renewable energy annually.


RE: Oh, brother
By Cheesew1z69 on 2/21/2012 1:52:27 PM , Rating: 1
Right, missed that, son of a bitch.


RE: Oh, brother
By fic2 on 2/21/2012 1:47:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think there was a DT article about a data center installation in Greenland that was put there for the cool climate reason.

But you really don't have to go that far - the mountain areas in Colorado a pretty cool most of the year.

Also, it isn't mentioned in the article but I wonder if they are using geothermal to pre-cool the air. Would think it would be a no-brainer, but you never no.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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