Apple invests in wind turbines for data centre

Apple invests in wind turbines for data centre

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Apple is investing in the construction of two of the world’s largest onshore wind turbines to power its data centre in Denmark.

The two 200m tall wind turbines will produce 62GWh and are being built by MHI Vestas. They will power Apple’s data centre at Viborg, with any surplus energy going into the Danish grid.

“Combatting climate change demands urgent action and global partnership — and the Viborg data centre is powerful proof that we can rise to this generational challenge,” said Lisa Jackson, vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple. “Investments in clean energy deliver breakthrough innovations that bring clean energy and good jobs to businesses and local communities.”

Apple’s 45,000m2 data centre helps power Apple’s App Store, Apple Music, iMessage, Siri, and other services in Europe that are run entirely on renewable energy from local projects. Neighbouring Ebsjerg is the point where optical fibre cables to the US, Ireland, England and the Netherlands converge, helping minimise the latency to the data centre.

The data centre is designed with natural airflow for cooling to reduce the power consumption of air conditioning systems.

Last month, Apple announced its plans to become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain, and product life cycle by 2030. While Apple’s operations are already powered by 100 percent renewable energy and carbon neutral, this new commitment will mean that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. This includes transitioning all of its European-based suppliers to renewable power.

Germany-based supplier Varta committed this week to running its Apple production with 100 percent renewable power and this is extending to suppliers Henkel and tesa, also based in Germany, DSM Engineering Materials in the Netherlands, chip maker STMicroelectronics and Solvay in Belgium. These solutions include DSM’s wind power purchase agreement in the Netherlands and STMicroelectronics’s solar carport in Morocco. Companies like Solvay are now expanding their use of renewable energy to their broader operations after joining Apple’s Supplier Clean Energy Program five years ago.

Since October 2015, 72 manufacturing partners in 17 different countries have committed to 100 percent renewable energy for Apple production.

The Esbjerg wind project follows the recent completion of one of Scandinavia’s largest solar arrays, located in Thisted, Northern Jutland, the first Danish solar project built without the use of public subsidies.

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