Apple gets into energy storage

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Apple, long touting itself at the forefront of the clean energy drive, claims one of the largest battery storage projects in US.

The California Flats grid scale energy storage project currently under construction will store up to 240MWh of energy, supporting Apple’s 130MW share of the central California solar farm.

California Flats, which came online in 2017, is said to supply all Apple’s renewable energy in California.

The project is reported to be using Tesla’s Megapack storage product, although this has not been confirmed by either company.

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Apple has also reported investment in research into new energy storage technologies, alongside its building out of distributed storage capabilities in Santa Clara Valley and through Apple Park’s microgrid.

While not giving any details of these, lithium-ion batteries are obviously an essential component of Apple’s products and rumours surface from time to time of the development of an electric, perhaps self-drive vehicle.

The intermittent nature of [wind and solar] technologies has presented an obstacle to widespread adoption, Apple said in a statement.

“One solution to intermittency is energy storage, which can retain generated energy until it is needed.”

Apple describes storage as the “next frontier” in its renewable energy efforts and further investments in the technology can be expected.

100% renewables

Apple and the other digital giants such as Amazon and Google are influential with their clean energy drive and their announcements make for good press.

They also have the power to drive it into the supply chain. Apple has reported that over 110 of its manufacturing partners around the world are moving to 100% renewable energy for their Apple production, with nearly 8GW of planned clean energy set to come online.

Additionally, Apple is investing directly in renewable energy projects to cover a portion of upstream emissions.

“We are firmly committed to helping our suppliers become carbon neutral by 2030 and are thrilled that companies who’ve joined us span industries and countries around the world,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.

Apple intends that by 2030 the company will become carbon neutral across its entire business, manufacturing supply chain and product life cycle.

Recent renewable investments have included an onsite solar project outside Reno, Nevada which is providing power to the company’s Nevada data centre, PPAs with wind farms in Illinois and Oregon and a solar project in Virginia and construction of wind turbines near Esbjerg in Denmark.