World : Apple looking at renewable energy in Australia

Global technology giant Apple's environmental boss Lisa Jackson says the company is looking at expanding into Australia's energy market including a stake in solar and wind projects.

With Apple purchasing solar farms across the world to help its target of being 100 per cent renewable, Ms Jackson said the company was looking at all options to reduce its carbon footprint in Australia.

The technology company is already 100 per cent renewable in Australia, purchasing its power from renewable energy sources from existing retailers.

Ms Jackson - the senior vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives for Apple who reports directly to chief executive Tim Cook - said the company was looking to "move closer to the supply of electricity" in Australia.

This was more likely to be in the form of a direct stake in an energy project, rather than investing in a new power project on their own.

"So we're scouting, so we're looking for more opportunities. I think there's always a way to change the way we lower our carbon footprint in Australia, whether it be solar or wind," Ms Jackson said in an interview at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

"We don't always want to own our own generation facility, but it's nice to be able to tell your customers where your energy comes from and which field."

In United States, Apple had to create its own company, Apple Energy, to be able to do a power purchasing agreement with the nearby Californa Flats solar farm to use energy at its existing headquarters. It also allows Apple to be able to look for more energy opportunities in the US, on the generation side as well as a purchaser. The company also sells excess power back to the grid.

Between 2009 and 2013, Ms Jackson was the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, appointed by President Barack Obama to reduce greenhouse gases - a role she has continued at Apple.

As part of its environmental initiatives to tackle climate change, Apple is also asking its suppliers, including those in China, to become 100 per cent renewable to keep their business with the tech giant. About 75 per cent of its carbon footprint comes from its wider supply chain.

It has set up a website to help suppliers become "green", with Apple using its financial clout help suppliers secure affordable power purchasing deals with retailers across the world.

It is also attempting to find ways to source of the components from its products, including the 20,000 parts in an iPhone, from re-usable or renewable (compostable) products, as part of a "closed loop" supply chain.

Apple, which has a market capitalisation of $976 billion, is also close to the completion of its new headquarters which will be the largest LEED Platinum-certified building in North America.

At the new corporate campus, built on the old Hewlett-Packard site where 80 per cent of the land was occupied by buildings or concrete, only 20 per cent will be used for buildings, with the remaining 80 per cent used for open spaces, including 9000 drought-resistant trees.

Apple Park - which is rumoured to be costing up to a staggering $6 billion for its 12,000 employees - will also be 100 per cent renewable, with 75 per cent of the energy needs generated by solar panels on the roof of buildings and the car park. There will also be biogas fuel cells and a scheme to re-use "grey" water.

Apple Park will be a "breathing building" with vanes to allow air to flow over water vanes to cool it down.

"We're told it will be like sitting outside when you're sitting inside the building," Ms Jackson said. "When it comes to energy we think pretty deeply about our carbon footprint."

The reporter travelled to California with the assistance of The Climate Council.

 

Source : http://www.afr.com/business/apple-looking-at-renewable-energy-in-australia-20170729-gxlbch

SMART GRID Bulletin August 2017


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