updated 01:21 am EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
Company may actually sell power to Duke Energy
North Carolina's Utility Commission in Raleigh has approved Apple's application to build a 4.8-megawatt fuel cell for the company's Maiden data center, the largest privately-owned such fuel cell in the country. The cell will consist of 24 energy servers provided by Bloom Energy, and will use conventional natural gas off the grid to power itself. Apple will offset the natural gas by buying or producing and equal amount of biogas locally.
Should the fuel cell setup produce excess power, Apple would sell that back to Duke Energy Carolinas, according to the filing from earlier today (reprinted below). Apple plans to make the facility use 100-percent renewable energy. Despite the largest private solar farms and fuel cell array in the country, Greenpeace has been targeting Apple over the facility, saying it is too reliant on coal-and-nuclear-dependent Duke Energy.
The Maiden facility houses the main servers for iCloud and the Siri voice recognition capability among other uses, and will draw at least 60 percent of its power from two 100-acre solar energy farms next to and nearby the facility, which should produce a combined 42MW of power, alongside the fuel cell which will provide almost another 5MW of power.
The remaining 40 percent of power needs, says Apple, will also come from renewable energy sources through "sourcing arrangements" with local and regional clean-energy sources. The data center, currently one of Duke Energy's biggest individual users, will be on fully-renewable sources or offsetting non-renewable sources before the end of the year.