Apple Scouts Energy Options in Australia (Doesn’t Want Its Own Facility)

by | Jul 31, 2017

Credit: Apple

Apple is scouting options to reduce its carbon footprint in Australia, the company’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson told Financial Review. The company will likely look at having stakes in solar and wind projects rather than invest in a new power project on its own.

“We don’t always want to own our own generation facility, but it’s nice to be able to tell your customers where your energy comes from and which field,” Jackson told Financial Review. She did not elaborate.

Apple has invested heavily in renewable energy generally. Last year the company launched a new subsidiary, Apple Energy, to sell renewable energy. The new Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino is powered entirely by solar and other renewables. And Apple recently announced construction of a 100% renewable-powered data center in Denmark.

Electricity costs for businesses in Australia have risen dramatically this year, Financial Review reported in March. “Average spot power prices in February across the states were between 98% and 360% higher than a year earlier, with prices in Queensland averaging $239.60 per megawatt hour, according to Citigroup,” the paper reported at the time. “Forward prices are up in all states by as much as 33% month on month, with all states now above $100 per megawatt hour for 2017-18.”

Hot weather, rising renewable power costs, and the closure of the coal-fueled Hazelwood Power Station in March are seen as factors in the price hikes. The Grattan Institute, an Australian public policy think tank, urged market reforms to reduce the risk of power blackouts and restrictions across the eastern part of the country this summer. “In the longer-term, new generation will be needed,” the report concluded.

Apple isn’t alone in looking at renewable energy opportunities in Australia. Earlier in July, Tesla won the government of South Australia’s bid to build a 100-megawatt lithium-ion energy storage solution. If Tesla succeeds, it will be the world’s largest lithium-ion battery. The announcement, however, prompted experts to question whether the project has a business case.

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