Apple’s global operations are now 100% powered by renewable electricity, the tech giant has revealed. This includes all data centers, retail stores and offices across 43 countries, and takes the company the final stretch from running on 96% clean power in 2017 to achieving its RE100 target.
In 2016 as part of its journey towards 100% renewable electricity, Apple joined RE100, the global corporate leadership initiative on renewables led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. Going further, the company pledged to work on driving advocacy for clean energy policies and incorporating renewable targets into its manufacturing supply chain.
Apple has now announced that 23 of its manufacturers are committed to operating on 100% renewable electricity for all their Apple productions. This includes nine new companies. The combined action by Apple’s suppliers represents a carbon saving of 1.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 – the equivalent of taking more than 300,000 cars off the road.
Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group congratulated Apple on the news: “Apple's milestone achievement of reaching 100% renewable electricity is inspiration for the rest of RE100 – and for ambitious, forward-thinking companies everywhere. Apple has shown it can be done globally. Many more companies will be able to overcome barriers in more challenging markets if business has the support of policy makers.”
"What's more is that Apple are bringing yet more of their supply chain with them in the switch to 100% renewables – accelerating the pace of change. That's exactly the kind of corporate leadership we want and need to see if we are to keep global warming well under two degrees”.
Accelerating change through the supply chain
A report by RE100 highlighted the potential for accelerating market change when companies go beyond their own operations and engage their suppliers in the uptake of renewables. By doing so, large businesses can send stronger demand-side signals and shift policy, especially in markets where renewable electricity can still be challenging to source.
In the report, Apple features as a leader on supply chain engagement. With its Clean Energy Portal, the company has developed an online platform to offer regional guidance which helps suppliers identify commercially viable renewable energy projects in the regions where they operate. More than 85 suppliers are currently registered, and Apple plans to scale up the process with a target of installing 4 GW of renewable electricity by 2020 to reduce manufacturing emissions globally.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said: “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.”
As the wind blows and the sun shines
Apple has met its RE100 target through a mix of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), on-site renewable generation and partnerships with local renewable electricity projects. The tech giant currently has 25 operational clean power projects across the world, adding up to 626 MW of generation capacity. 15 further projects are in construction and once built, the total capacity will be 1.4 GW.
Examples of Apple’s renewable electricity projects include a 17 MW onsite rooftop solar installation at Apple Park; the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California; PPA’s for 200 MW wind in Oregon and 320 MW solar in Nevada; and a partnership with a local solar company in Japan to install 300 rooftop solar systems.
A recent RE100 Progress and Insights Report found that PPAs are an increasingly common approach for RE100 members to source renewables around the world, with the proportion of renewable electricity consumed this way increasing by more than fourfold in just one year.
Image courtesy of Apple