Apple at head of massive mid-Atlantic solar power initiative

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2018
Apple, Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re have announced an agreement to develop two new wind and solar energy farms in Illinois and Virginia to provide power for company operations in in the eastern United States.




Spearheaded by Apple, the new projects will generate 290 megawatts to the PJM electric grid serving much of the Eastern United States, including areas of Virginia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. By collaborating with Apple, Akamai, Etsy and Swiss Re were able to access wind and solar power from the new projects at competitive prices and agreement terms.

That 290 megawatts will be used for company operations, but would be sufficient to power 74,000 houses if it were so utilized.

"At Apple, we're proud to power all of our operations around the world with 100 percent renewable energy," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. "In the process, we've charted a course for other companies and organizations to purchase renewable energy and transition their own operations to greener power."

As an insurance provider, the Swiss Re Group anticipates and manages risk including that from natural catastrophes, climate change, aging populations, and cyber crime. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1863, the Swiss Re Group operates through a network of around 80 offices globally.

"Swiss Re aims to reduce its carbon footprint and support renewable energy, which is why we're so happy to be part of this collaboration," said Brian Beebe, Head of Origination North America, Weather and Energy, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. "We also hope to speed up the adoption of these clean technologies through Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' innovative insurance products, which help owners of wind and solar assets decrease cash flow uncertainty."

Akamai has been Apple's content delivery partner for some time. The company has 200,000 servers across 130 countries -- including a large facility in Virginia that is potentially serviceable by the power deal.

Power company sPower is the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States. The company owns and operates a portfolio of solar and wind assets greater than 1.3 gigawatts and has a development pipeline of more than 10 gigawatts. sPower is owned by a joint venture partnership between The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES), a worldwide energy company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada's largest and most diversified institutional investment fund managers.

"We commend Apple's leadership in this collaboration between them, Akamai and Etsy," said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower. "Without this group of forward-thinking companies this project would not be a reality.

The move may be self-serving for Apple beyond environmental stewardship. The company is said to be looking at three locations in or near the DC metropolitan area for its second headquarters.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    TomETomE Posts: 167member
    Why buy a power company with the sunk legacy costs that are driving them down ?  No reason to do that,  Avoid the legacy costs of Coal, Nuclear, huge distribution and generation systems - Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.  Very few Maintenance Technicians to keep the systems (panels, etc) operating efficiently.  One has to look at the total cost of Generation, not just the cost of a panel vs the equivalent amount of energy generated via another method.

    Continue the forward thinking Apple, et. al.

    tmayciaminicoffee
  • Reply 2 of 51
    Regardless of what anyone thinks at this particular moment in political time, non-fossil fuel sources of energy -- or if fossil fuels, natural gas-based sources as a bridge -- are here to say.  Forward-thinking corporations like Apple are at the forefront of driving that change, and that is not a function of whether who comes and goes in DC. Companies make such decisions based on the economics of such investments over a 15-20 year horizon. 
    cia2770 LorcaMacProjony0
  • Reply 3 of 51
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 398member
    "The move may be self-serving for Apple beyond environmental stewardship.  The company is said to be looking at three locations in or near the DC metropolitan area for its second headquarters." - well, maybe it isn't. The link you use for your self-serving argument is a month older than this one:
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/06/02/apple-research-triangle-park-announcement/
    or this one:
    https://www.wraltechwire.com/2018/06/08/sources-apple-recruiting-in-triangle-as-talks-continue-about-rtp-campus-other-projects/

    Seems pretty definitive that Apple will be coming to NC - which isn't served by that new power.


  • Reply 4 of 51
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    SpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 5 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,260administrator
    tjwolf said:
    "The move may be self-serving for Apple beyond environmental stewardship.  The company is said to be looking at three locations in or near the DC metropolitan area for its second headquarters." - well, maybe it isn't. The link you use for your self-serving argument is a month older than this one:
    https://9to5mac.com/2018/06/02/apple-research-triangle-park-announcement/
    or this one:
    https://www.wraltechwire.com/2018/06/08/sources-apple-recruiting-in-triangle-as-talks-continue-about-rtp-campus-other-projects/

    Seems pretty definitive that Apple will be coming to NC - which isn't served by that new power.


    An imminent announcement... from early June?

    Seems not so definitive. 

    Also, potentially of note, we're fully aware of the NC thing, and the fact that this won't serve that area. 

    We talked about the "imminent" announcement before your first linked source and a week before your second did: 


    The legislation referred to in the first link? It hasn't passed.


    edited August 2018 gatorguy
  • Reply 6 of 51
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    ...China :-(
    jony0
  • Reply 7 of 51
    thttht Posts: 4,034member
    Wow, based on the headline, I was thinking of solar and wind power somewhere in the mid-Atlantic ocean, like off the coast of the Bahamas, not ACC states.
    marklarkalanh
  • Reply 8 of 51
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    The economics of Thorium still needs to be demonstrated (the last real demonstration project was over 50 or so years ago, IIRC) and that will cost $5-10B to do. Not a task for any single company to be able to pull off. It would likely have to be done by a consortium of nations first. Even then, there are two major forks in the technology: the liquid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by China), and the solid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by countries such as India). Both may have to be tested out, doubling the cost.
    lostkiwitallest skilh2p
  • Reply 9 of 51
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,725member
    tht said:
    Wow, based on the headline, I was thinking of solar and wind power somewhere in the mid-Atlantic ocean, like off the coast of the Bahamas, not ACC states.
    Glad I wasn't the only one who envisioned a big facility between Bermuda and the Azores
    alanh
  • Reply 10 of 51
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Would like to see Apple get involved in massive energy storage for these intermittent sources of energy.
  • Reply 11 of 51
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,462member

    The move may be self-serving for Apple beyond environmental stewardship. The company is said to be looking at three locations in or near the DC metropolitan area for its second headquarters.
    And I see nothing wrong with that. Does anyone?
  • Reply 12 of 51
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    …that will cost $5-10B to do.
    Apple has been fined more than that. It’s almost a write-off for them.
    Both may have to be tested out, doubling the cost.
    As well we should. Who’s going to do it, though? Not governments, who are all beholden to entrenched interests. Only entrepreneurial individuals can.
  • Reply 13 of 51
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,462member

    TomE said:
    Why buy a power company with the sunk legacy costs that are driving them down ?  No reason to do that,  Avoid the legacy costs of Coal, Nuclear, huge distribution and generation systems - Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.  Very few Maintenance Technicians to keep the systems (panels, etc) operating efficiently.  One has to look at the total cost of Generation, not just the cost of a panel vs the equivalent amount of energy generated via another method.

    Continue the forward thinking Apple, et. al.

    And how do you keep the power on during the night with that? Until the problem of storage is solved we will continue to rely on burning fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Storage of that unreliable, renewable but intermittent power source is the real holy grail here and we’re not even close. That’s why even hardcore environmentalists are taking another look at nuclear. My eldest son designs power plants and was involved in designing a liquid sodium, solar generation project that stores liquid sodium heated during the day and used to generate power at night so I kind of think he knows what he is talking about. As for some who claim the coal and oil industries are deliberately trying to stop this technology just realize that the company who solves this problem will become rich beyond avarice.
    edited August 2018 tallest skil
  • Reply 14 of 51
    GG1GG1 Posts: 452member
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    The economics of Thorium still needs to be demonstrated (the last real demonstration project was over 50 or so years ago, IIRC) and that will cost $5-10B to do. Not a task for any single company to be able to pull off. It would likely have to be done by a consortium of nations first. Even then, there are two major forks in the technology: the liquid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by China), and the solid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by countries such as India). Both may have to be tested out, doubling the cost.
    ^ Thanks for the information. I was aware of the solid fuel effort by India but not the China effort.

    I always thought that whoever (whatever country) can commercialize Thorium would have a big advantage to sell to other countries. But the rise in renewable sources could reduce that advantage a bit. Still, Thorium or renewables are better than fossil fuels.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    GG1GG1 Posts: 452member
    lkrupp said:

    TomE said:
    Why buy a power company with the sunk legacy costs that are driving them down ?  No reason to do that,  Avoid the legacy costs of Coal, Nuclear, huge distribution and generation systems - Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.  Very few Maintenance Technicians to keep the systems (panels, etc) operating efficiently.  One has to look at the total cost of Generation, not just the cost of a panel vs the equivalent amount of energy generated via another method.

    Continue the forward thinking Apple, et. al.

    And how do you keep the power on during the night with that? Until the problem of storage is solved we will continue to rely on burning fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Storage of that unreliable, renewable but intermittent power source is the real holy grail here and we’re not even close. That’s why even hardcore environmentalists are taking another look at nuclear. My eldest son designs power plants and was involved in designing a liquid sodium, solar generation project that stores liquid sodium heated during the day and used to generate power at night so I kind of think he knows what he is talking about. 
    I had read about micro-nukes (<10 MW) years back. Does he know if they still being pursued?
  • Reply 16 of 51
    thttht Posts: 4,034member
    DAalseth said:
    tht said:
    Wow, based on the headline, I was thinking of solar and wind power somewhere in the mid-Atlantic ocean, like off the coast of the Bahamas, not ACC states.
    Glad I wasn't the only one who envisioned a big facility between Bermuda and the Azores
    Yeah. Someone will have to do the quintuple whammy of co-located wind+solar+wave+tidal+storage power one of these days. ☺️

    Start with a wind turbine mounted on a rather special pylon. Mount a tidal power float at the base. Attach a wave power train/floats On the tidal power float. Mount solar panels on top of the wave power floats. Then, have air storage tanks at the bottom!
  • Reply 17 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    Boy, I'd love to see that happen. Bill Gates has a company which was exploring this type of system:

    https://www.zdnet.com/article/bill-gates-stops-chasing-nuclear-wave-pursues-variety-of-reactors/

    ...but they've been pretty silent on the whole thing for years now. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TerraPower
  • Reply 18 of 51
    GG1 said:
    TomE said:
    Build one with a New Technology that does not have these legacy costs.
    If Apple entered the business of thorium reactors, I suspect they could have a monopoly on power production in the US within 20 years.
    The economics of Thorium still needs to be demonstrated (the last real demonstration project was over 50 or so years ago, IIRC) and that will cost $5-10B to do. Not a task for any single company to be able to pull off. It would likely have to be done by a consortium of nations first. Even then, there are two major forks in the technology: the liquid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by China), and the solid fuel thorium technology (being spearheaded by countries such as India). Both may have to be tested out, doubling the cost.
    ^ Thanks for the information. I was aware of the solid fuel effort by India but not the China effort.

    I always thought that whoever (whatever country) can commercialize Thorium would have a big advantage to sell to other countries. But the rise in renewable sources could reduce that advantage a bit. Still, Thorium or renewables are better than fossil fuels.
    Indonesia is spearheading a really interesting liquid fuel thorium project — built elsewhere and ‘floated’ to Indonesia — that is supposed to come on stream in 2021. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with that. 
  • Reply 19 of 51
    Honestly I prefer not to give it to vendor companies. We know what happened with railroads when they were developed by individual businesses. Same with power (AC vs. DC and etc.) from historic perspective. I would prefer energy companies to run this and be under regulations for standards and Apple, Etsy and others only contracting energy... unless of course Etsy wants to become energy company. I can imagine legal issues in crossing propietary lines and destructive competition. There is chance to prevent that.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Honestly I prefer not to give it to vendor companies. We know what happened with railroads when they were developed by individual businesses. Same with power (AC vs. DC and etc.) from historic perspective. I would prefer energy companies to run this and be under regulations for standards and Apple, Etsy and others only contracting energy... unless of course Etsy wants to become energy company. I can imagine legal issues in crossing propietary lines and destructive competition. There is chance to prevent that.
    Right now for most people in the US, the government exercises monopoly power over where they get their power. Competition would be good.
Sign In or Register to comment.