Apple details 17 new green bond projects in U.S. and Denmark in last year

Tech company said it's creating 1.2 gigawatts of clean energy, has allocated $2.8 billion.

The Turquoise solar farm in Nevada delivers 50 megawatts of renewable power to Apple, and is the company’s fourth solar project in the state. Photo: Apple.

(George Barker is a journalism/CS major at Northeastern University. He’s worked for the Harvard Business Review and as campus and sports editor for The Huntington News.)

BOSTON (Callaway Climate Insights) — Apple (AAPL) funded 17 green bond projects last year — across the U.S. and in Denmark — that the company said will “avoid an average of 921,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually,” equivalent to getting nearly 200,000 cars off the road. 

The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said in a news release Wednesday it spent almost $330 million in the fiscal year ending in September, focused largely on renewable assets that will generate over 1.2GWh annually. So far, $2.8 billion from its five-year-old $4.7 billion green bond program has been allocated already, according to the company statement and its Green Bond Impact Report.

Apple’s recent cleantech and energy spending comes from its $2.2 billion green bond 2019 issuance, which followed a $1.5 billion issuance in 2016 and $1 billion issuance in 2017. Apple claims to be among the largest private issuers of green bonds, which are bonds designated for projects that have a positive impact on the climate’s bottom line in addition to the issuing company’s and come with annual impact reports. Apple’s aggressive green spending falls in line with its goal of becoming completely carbon neutral across its supply chain and manufacturing process by 2030 to match its already carbon neutral corporate operations. 

“Apple is dedicated to protecting the planet we all share with solutions that are supporting the communities where we work,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, said in a statement. “We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to fight against the impacts of climate change, and our $4.7 billion investment of the proceeds from our green bond sales is an important driver in our efforts. Ultimately, clean power is good business.”

Some $310 million of the company’s green spending in the period went to 353.7MW of new renewable energy capacity, namely a 200MW wind power purchase which enabled the construction of the Montague Wind Power Facility in Oregon. In addition, Apple made a 112MW virtual power purchase agreement with Green River Wind Farm in Illinois, which enabled smaller power purchasers to purchase the remaining renewable energy in a region where renewable access was limited at the time. The remaining 42.4 MW of new capacity came from the first Danish solar project to be constructed without public subsidies, and it powers one of Apple’s data centers in Northern Jutland, Denmark, enabling iMessages and other Apple apps to run on clean energy. 

Other major renewable power assets highlighted by Apple include two of Denmark’s largest onshore wind turbines, whose construction was announced September 2020 and when completed, will power another Danish data center and send surplus power into the local grid with 62GWh of power annually and a 180-acre 270MW solar farm in Reno, Nev., completed in 2017.

The report also mentions providing a “clean energy portal” to ease clean energy adoption for suppliers in the U.S., China, Taiwan, Japan, and India, while spending green bond funds to advocate for clean energy friendly policies in Japan, Vietnam, and South Korea. 

Outside of renewable energy capacity spending, the tech company spent $12.96 million on low-carbon design and engineering, $3.5 million on carbon sequestration, $2 million on carbon mitigation and $1.14 million on energy efficiency programs. 

Apple stock was down 2.27% to $122.78 in early afternoon trade Tuesday, and the Nasdaq was a little more than 1% lower.


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