North Carolina’s Utilities Commission has approved Apple’s plans to build a fuel cell center for renewable power generation at its data facility in western North Carolina.
The commission decision was made Wednesday. (Read ruling here.)
Earlier this month, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), targeted by Greenpeace International over its energy consumption, said its 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, N.C., will be powered entirely by renewable sources by the end of the year.
The Utilities Commission had already approved Apple’s request to build a solar farm at the facility on Thursday. (Read the ruling here.)
Greenpeace demonstrators had criticized the world’s largest technology company for using too much coal to power the data facility.
“By the end of 2012, we’ll meet the energy needs of our Maiden, North Carolina, data center using entirely renewable sources,” Apple declared on its website.
“To achieve this, we’re building our own facilities that will provide over 60 percent of the clean power we need. It’s another example of Apple’s commitment to designing for energy efficiency — from the ground up.”
Apple reiterated its plan to generate 60 percent of the Maiden facility’s power itself, through a large deployment of fuel cells and a 100-acre solar farm located next to the data center.
The company provided additional detail today, saying it has another 100-acre site nearby. Once these projects are completed, Apple will generate 124 million kilowatt hours of power per year, enough to power 10,874 homes.
“Apple’s data center in Maiden, North Carolina, will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity,” the company said W
“We’ll be producing an unprecedented 60 percent of this power onsite. To do that, we’re building what will be the nation’s largest private solar arrays and the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. That’s a scale of onsite renewable energy production that no other company has matched. Onsite energy generation minimizes our dependence on the grid and reduces our environmental impact. And when our solar arrays and fuel cells are operating, Apple’s Maiden data center will be the most environmentally sound data center ever built.”
Fuel cells turn biogases, which can be taken from wastewater, into electricity.
Read the Apple announcement here.
(Bloomberg news contributed to this story.)