Skip to main content

Apple says it’s now powered by 100 percent renewable energy worldwide

Apple says it’s now powered by 100 percent renewable energy worldwide

/

But there’s a big catch

Share this story

Apple Holds Product Launch Event At New Campus In Cupertino
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple announced today that its business is now powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources. The news is a major victory that the iPhone maker has been working toward for years through the purchase of green energy bonds and other renewable investments in its supply chain and physical infrastructure. The company’s last milestone, announced two years ago, was 93 percent of its worldwide operations running on clean energy.

The announcement comes just one week after Google announced that it now purchases enough renewable energy to offset its global energy consumption. Similarly, Apple’s global operations, including some suppliers in China and facilities in places without access to clean energy, are not technically 100 percent renewable, meaning not every single joule or electron used is initially created by wind, solar, or other green energy plants and farms.

Apple is not technically powered by 100 percent renewable energy

For instance, Apple Stores that are powered by municipal power grids cannot reliably use clean energy because once electricity enters the grid, you can no longer determine its source or cleanliness. As a way to account for that, Apple purchases what are known as Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs, which are a tradable commodity that guarantee the cleanliness of an energy source. (Think of it like the opposite of a carbon tax.) Apple also invests in wind, solar, and other clean energy facilities around the globe, builds its own energy sources, and ensures that any new offices and plants it constructs do actually run on 100 percent clean energy, like the newly opened Apple Park campus. The company says it also puts excess green energy into the grid, so it can be used by others.

Apple says its approach differs from others in the tech industry in some key ways. For one, the company says it always seeks to fund and build its own energy projects, and does so for around two thirds of all of its energy needs globally. “Where it’s not feasible to build our own generation, we sign long-term renewable energy purchase contracts, supporting new, local projects that meet our robust renewable energy sourcing principles,” reads the company’s 58-page Environmental Responsibility Report published last year. “In cases where we aren’t able to create new renewable energy projects ourselves due to local constraints, we directly purchase renewable energy from newer projects in nearby markets, or through available utility green energy programs. Apple says that when it purchases REQs, “we require that they are Green-e Energy certified and come from the same power grid—and preferably the same state — as the Apple facility they support.”

Apple is working toward making sure that every single retail store, office, data center, and manufacturing facility worldwide, in all 43 countries it operates in, run on 100 percent clean energy. That’s not possible today, given the dependency on electric grids, regional utility monopolies, and energy hurdles in manufacturing hubs like China, among other factors. But Apple is pledging to get there as fast as it can.

“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it. After years of hard work we’re proud to have reached this significant milestone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “We’re going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it.”

“We’re committed to leaving the world better than we found it.”

Apple’s press release breaks down some of the numbers and further explains Apple’s timeline to its commitment to combat climate change, something Cook has spoken publicly about before. The chief executive notably clashed with Trump over the US exiting the Paris climate accord last year. Cook also told investors in 2014 that they should dump their Apple stock if they didn’t take seriously the company’s commitment to green energy and sustainability and questioned how much Apple spends on those projects. Just last week, Apple pushed back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

“Apple currently has 25 operational renewable energy projects around the world, totaling 626 megawatts of generation capacity, with 286 megawatts of solar PV generation coming online in 2017, its most ever in one year,” reads Apple’s press release from today. “It also has 15 more projects in construction. Once built, over 1.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy generation will be spread across 11 countries.”

Since 2014, Apple says all of its data centers have been powered by 100 percent renewable energy. “And since 2011, all of Apple’s renewable energy projects have reduced greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) by 54 percent from its facilities worldwide and prevented nearly 2.1 million metric tons of CO2e from entering the atmosphere,” the release reads.

Update April 9th, 4:17PM ET: Clarified that Apple, like Google, is not actually 100 percent powered by clean energy, but it uses the term to signal that it buys enough green energy to offset its global power consumption.

Update April 9th, 5:05PM ET: Added additional details about Apple’s renewable energy efforts.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.