Apple and CEO Tim Cook now at center of the global debate about climate change and the future of energy

Apple CEO Tim Cook has inked an $850 million agreement to buy solar power from First Solar, the biggest U.S. developer of solar farms, proclaiming it the “biggest, boldest and most ambitious project ever.” The deal will supply enough electricity to power all of Apple’s California stores, offices, headquarters and a data center, Cook said Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco,” Tom Randall reports for Bloomberg. “It’s the biggest-ever solar procurement deal for a company that isn’t a utility, and it nearly triples Apple’s stake in solar, according to an analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. ‘The investment amount is enormous,’ said Michel Di Capua, head of North American research at BNEF. ‘This is a really big deal.'”

“The agreement positions the CEO of the world’s biggest company at the center of the global debate about climate change and the future of energy — a role Cook has increasingly embraced over the past two years. The company has been ramping up its investment in solar, with two 20 Mw plants completed and a third under development in North Carolina, and a 20 Mw plant in development in Reno, Nev. All of Apple’s data centers are now powered by renewables,” Randall reports. “‘We know that climate change is real,’ Cook said on Tuesday. ‘Our view is that the time for talk has passed, and the time for action is now. We’ve shown that with what we’ve done.'”

“The price of solar has been declining quicker than that of wind, and by 2050 solar could be the world’s biggest single source of electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The Apple deal is the first of its size for solar, a milestone on the road to cheap, unsubsidized power from the sun,” Randall reports. “Apple isn’t investing in solar as a gift to humanity. It’s doing it because it’s a good business deal, Cook stressed at the Goldman Sachs conference. ‘”We expect to have very significant savings,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple’s $850 million solar plant investment rockets it to first place among U.S. corporations – February 12, 2015
Apple to build new solar farm, and some greens hate it – February 11, 2015
Tim Cook: Apple to build $850 million solar farm; Apple Watch will surprise everyone – February 10, 2015

104 Comments

  1. Of course Climate Change is real. been changing since the dawn of time, however humans are NOT the cause, and there is absolutely nothing we can do to control nature. Chances are the attempts will make things worse…

      1. Does the name Rupert Wildt ring any bells? His idea was shot down by scientists… until it was later found to be politically expedient. Then the idea was revived with a vengeance. Go ahead. Look it up. We’ll wait.

      2. Nice retort. You showed MacInfo you have evolved beyond thought, facts and science. You know things just because knowing certain things, like global warming, makes you cool. Like just knowing that rap music involves talent and musical ability even though it sounds so bad. You know global warming is true even though you have as much scientific knowledge as a whale turd. So, you can “move along”.

      3. Macinfo, you don’t know that. No one does. However, reducing the pollution we put into the air and water is never a bad thing. Climate change is real; the debate is over how much is caused by human activity.

        The reality is traditional energy production creates pollution. Just look at China to see perfect evidence of how much pollution can be created in a relatively short time frame once industrial plants are built.

        What’s the worst case scenario? We implement technologies to stop polluting our planet? And if that zero effect on climate change, at least we have cleaner air and water. So it costs a little money. So does medical care for cancers caused by pollution.

        1. Biz…. I am not condoning pollution, However, I think its relatively clear in the past 30-40 years we’ve cleaned things up quite a bit, is there room for improvement, perhaps, but that has to weighed against the cost. Do you really want high energy bills that you cannot afford? Energy production also aids in cleaning the environment. The problem is that it DOESN’T cost a little money, it costs a A LOT, at the expense in most cases, people that cannot afford it.

          1. Hello Macinfo,

            Listen to what you are saying. This is *Apple’s* decision. _Your_ energy bills are not going to go up ! What gives ? Why are you so down on someone else trying to do some good ?

            — How can we say the world has cleaned things up a lot in the past 30-40 years? See this link (or do your own web search): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

            — The planet has added 2 to 3 billion people in the past 30 to 40 years. And underdeveloped countries are developing fast. They want everything Americans have: families, cars, big houses, heated pools, a lot of travel, etc.

            — Burning 1 gallon of gas produces 19.5 pounds of CO2. Look it up for yourself. Here is one link: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/11/how_gasoline_becomes_co2.html

            — This is a mind-boggling number, especially — as someone points out below — CO2 is a relatively trace gas. We are approaching (modern era) highs of 400 ppm, or “parts per million”. Most scientists believe these high levels of CO2 are altering the atmosphere and oceans. This is the background context to appreciate the 19.5 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gasoline burned that the world puts into the atmosphere. Americans burn 100 million barrels of gas a day. (42 gallons per barrel.) Plus, we burn a lot of carbon fuel for heating and electricity. Add global consumption of carbon fuels. Humans are producing a HUGE amount of CO2, every day. This CO2 production is completely independent of any underlying geologic processes that may be at play.

            1. TomH,

              CO2 is not a pollutant but 1) a nutrient for chlorophyll plants, 2) a trace gas whose physics in the atmosphere is dwarfed by H2O which includes clouds as well as adsorption bands, the magnitude difference is a minimum of 50 times greater for water, and, and 3) CO2 production by nature is greater by many orders of magnitude than by humans and includes volcanism both on land and under sea, wildfires, decomposition, oxidation of upwelling CH4, outgasing from oceans and other sources, 4) CO2 is stripped from the atmosphere not only by forming carbonates by organisms and chemically.

              Worring about human production of CO2 is politics plain and simple.

              Dan Kurt

            2. Dan,

              Thanks for your thoughts. Your are piecing together shreds of different arguments, but none are fully developed. In any event, I am impressed you are sensitive to the plight of plants. (You are not a strict carnivore, are you? ) And I hope you are equally sensitive to the plight of animals, people, and the planet earth itself.

              1. One must assess all impacts when considering the relative merits of substituting renewable energy sources for carbon fuels. Cherry-picking a minor, dubious, putative benefit to the exclusion of other, bigger consequents reflects poor logic. 1a. I have never heard that the world’s scientific community believes plants are in dire need of more CO2, to the extent humans should burn fossil fuels to remedy the current low levels of CO2. 1b. I believe most botanists agree that the biggest threats to the earth’s ecosystem, including flora, today are loss of habitat due to anthropogenic climate change and unchecked development (due largely to population growth). 1c. By your reasoning, feces is also not pollution but a plant nutrient. Yet this does not mean that too much of it is not bad. In fact, many things are fine except when there is too much of it.

              2. Quantity of a thing is not as important as its potency or effect. The fact that something is “trace” — a measure of quantity relative to other things — provides no information on its potential impact. Chlorine molecules (caused by the breakdown of chlorofluorocarbons) in the upper atmosphere are *extremely rare* relative to the atmosphere as a whole, yet these relatively few atoms have had a huge negative impact on atmospheric conditions through ozone depletion. And these molecules continue to do their damage during their lifetime, which is 100 years. Trace atoms, but huge negative impact on the planet. 2a. Because CO2 is a “trace” gas, as you point out, I do not understand why you feel the huge amounts of CO2 put into the atmosphere every year by burning fossil fuels is inconsequential. You do know that burning one gallon of gas produces 19.5 pounds of CO2, right? Using a ratio of 400 ppm (current CO2 concentration in atmosphere) implies that a single gallon of gas will add this concentration of CO2 to nearly 50,000 pounds of the atmosphere. What part of this implies an inconsequential impact of man-made contributions to atmospheric CO2?

              3. Yes, water vapor in the atmosphere acts essentially as a greenhouse gas: it absorbs heat. This is why we do not want more water vapor in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, warm air holds more water vapor than cool air. So rising atmospheric temperature (ie, from burning fossil fuel) causes increased atmospheric water vapor levels, too, exacerbating rising air temperatures (and also contributing to drought, by the way). Rising planetary temperature also causes the permafrost to melt, releasing methane — a really bad greenhouse gas. Rinse, repeat. It is all a vicious cycle of planetary temperature increase. It seems you agree on this important point, as you feel strongly about the effects of H2O in the atmosphere…

              4. Everyone knows CO2 exists in nature and is part of our planetary ecosystem. Yet this does not imply that additional man-made contributions to CO2 levels is “natural”. Or inconsequential. Most people accept existing CO2 levels and processes as a baseline, or “initial conditions” in the ecosystem. The debate is focused on the impact of man-made contributions to planetary change.

              I do not see a downside to developing renewables. Do you? I do not see why some people are so opposed to the idea of developing renewable energy sources. It makes sense from the pollution and geopolitical angles alone. If it also reduces further planetary change — which many believe it will — so much the better. From a decision-analysis perspective, developing renewables looks like a “dominant strategy”. Expected upsides, with no downsides.

              All The Best.

          2. MacInfo is obviously a big energy money shill. Look up ENRON and rethink your position on what how and when does your energy bill goes up or down. Just the pollution aspect is enough to go green as much as is possible. Waiting for earths ecosystem to try to shake us off her back is a blindly stupid position to take. Now go collect your corpo-check.

    1. So when humanity burns enough fossil fuels to add 30 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, and the charts show the concentration of CO2 climbing steadily since the “Industrial Revolution” – human action has nothing to do with that? I’m not saying that we are the ONLY cause, but there are things we can do to NOT add millions of tons of CO2 and help bring about damage to ourselves.

      1. No one here is disputing that humans have been pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. The rise in CO2 levels has been rapid. It’s linking that to climate change where the correlation in data has been weak.

        1. You seriously doubting the Greenhouse Effect is real? Really? That’s extremely basic well known science you can verify yourself at home.

          You need to go back to middle school chemistry, you dangerously ignorant fuck-stain.

          1. Thank you for your well reasoned and articulate response. I am familiar with your so-called high school experiment. But what happens in a controlled environment doesn’t necessarily correlate in a complex environment. Many other variables are at work. If you would care to look up the actual data (your a big boy, I know you can do it) you will see that the CO2 rise and global temperates do not track well. Don’t look at the models. Look at the actual data. Then come back and we can have a reasoned discussion. Until then, take a hike junior!

            1. On assessing how man-made CO2 emissions influence the greenhouse effect globally – why should anyone listen to you, instead of the 97% of scientists in 2014, or 95% of scientists in 2013, or 90% of scientists in 2012, who agree that the evidence to date prove anthropological climate change is occurring?

              Furthermore, it’s entirely possible you are right and 97% of scientists are wrong about anthropological climate change – unlikely, but definitely possible. But what’s the risk/reward payoff of believing you over the vast majority of scientists? If the scentists are wrong, all we did was waste money on solar panels, that we’ll slowly get back over many years of collecting pollution-free energy. If you’re wrong, billions of people starve to death. What other aspect of life is 97% chance of catastrophic deadly failure an acceptable risk? What’s the benefit of playing these odds, and betting that you and the other right-leaning crackpots are correct about climate change, and the vast majority of scientists are wrong?

              http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

            2. Well said, pitch fork mafia.

              That’s always been my argument…Ok, let’s assume that the 97% ARE wrong, and the 3% ARE right.

              What does it hurt to reduce use of fossil fuels and ramp up use of alternative energy? Nothing.

              Well…nothing but the pockets of those selling oil. Hmmm….think that might factor in here?

              And besides, there’s a FINITE amount of oil available…*probably* not a bad idea to start conserving it, since we’re so desperate to find more that we’ve resorted to things like oil sands and fracking.

            3. So far you have resorted to name calling, trying to use appeals to authority to bolster your opinion and, you changed the subject. You didn’t look up what I asked you to, perhaps because you don’t want to see any information that might contradict your beliefs. Sad.

            4. I’m not deferring to authority. I’m making a reasoned decision based on relevant information available, fully aware that even experts on the subject are fallible. Name calling was never central to my argument, merely side jab.

              You dodged my risk / reward argument completely: that even if you are right, that remote possibility is not somehow worth risking billions of lives.

              Whatever you have riding on this – your politics, your investment portfolio, maybe just your desire to be right and to prove others wrong – whatever it is you have to gain or to lose here, there is no way it can be worth risking billions of lives.

              It’s cannot be worth it with 97% odds favoring global catastrophe – and those ARE currently the odds according to climate experts. It would not be worth the risk under 50/50 odds, or even just 25% odds of man-made global catastrophe. Every life means something, and to risk billions of lives over your pride or oil investments is recklessness to the extreme. The possible rewards for you being right is pathetic, and potential cost of you being wrong is globally catastrophic. Also, the odds of you being right don’t even look as good as 50/50. That’s a terrible gamble!

              How do you recon the risks/rewards here? Are you simply denying their is any possibility that you might be wrong – like you’re some kind of Infallible Being? Or do you think, it doesn’t matter that much if billions of people die? Like you have a plan to save yourself and your kin, and nothing else matters. I want to know what makes the possibility of human caused climate change seem like a worthwhile risk to you.

          2. CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat making 99.8% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.2% of it. For this we should destroy our economy?

            Oh, and please review your chemistry notes. They are wrong.

            1. The only sensible comment you make, and I assume its your motive for denial, is that you don’t want to wreck the economy. I agree. But that doesn’t change what is happening to the climate.

              For starters, his chemistry notes are right as you know and there is little more fundamental than the wavelengths of light an atom or chemical absorb or don’t.

              And yes CO2 is a trace gas. If there was enough to actually block most heat from escaping we would quickly become Venus. But little differences in the heat that escapes mean different global temperatures.

              Volcanos roughly replenish the carbon that is buried each year (which is how we got fossil fuels) but they only put out about 200 million tons of CO2 a year.

              Human now put out over 100X all the volcanoes combined, 30 billion tons, 6 trillion cubic feet, a year. There is no basis for thinking that won’t heat the planet and it has been. Ten of the hottest years on record are after 2000, with 2014 the hottest.

              We are very fortunate that half gets absorbed by the ocean, except that is making the ocean more acidic which has its own serious issues for reefs, shellfish and the ocean food chain.

              I wish those who were concerned about economic damage were more concerned with crafting solutions than putting their head in the sand.

            2. Those interested in a strong US economy should wholeheartedly endorse and support solar and wind power.

              The biggest economic driver has always been high-value innovation. Cars trumped horse buggies. Computers beat out typewriters and calculators. Handheld computers with cell phones killed landline phones. Renewable energy — solar and wind — will ultimately trump fossil fuels — an old and dying industry. (I, personally, do not consider tracking to be a “high technology”!) As Bloomberg Business put it: “solar and wind energy are not just fuels, they are *technologies*. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-11/what-apple-just-did-in-solar-is-a-really-big-deal

              The US can choose to be on the leading edge of these technologies. Or we can ignore them and instead buy the technology from China. Developing new technologies like these are what American do (or, perhaps, what we used to do?) exceptionally well. Solar and wind technology embody design, production, distribution, monitoring equipment, and advanced batter technology.

              It would be a shame for the US to lose out on these industries of the future because we are stuck in the fossil fuel era.

              Renewables are here to stay. The US should seek to remain on the cutting edge of these technologies. Or we will cede this important economic sector to others. Like the Chinese, who are all over it. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-30/seven-reasons-cheap-oil-can-t-stop-renewables-now

        2. Sir, I believe you are wrong. It is my understanding that most scientists believe humans have contributed to planetary change as a result of their prodigious burning of carbon-based fuels. Furthermore, the US top military commanders also agree that climate change is a major strategic issue for them to address. So who or what, exactly, are you referring to when you say “the link between the rise in CO2 levels and climate change is weak”? This line of reasoning is not held by most people who care about studying these things.

      2. It is much more than that. The US burns 100 million barrels of gas per *day*. Each barrel contains 42 gallons. Burning 1 gallon of gas produces 19 pounds of CO2. (1 carbon molecule from gas + 2 oxygen molecules from air.) 100 million barrels x 42 gallons per barrel, x 19 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas, x 365 days per year. According to my quick calculations, this is over 1.3 *billion metric tons* of CO2 per year. (I divided by 2.2 pounds per kilo, then divided again by 1000 to get metric tons.) Every year. Now factor in the rest of the world. The world produces over 5 billion metric tons of CO2 every year. And that is just CO2. There are other greenhouse gases.

        And that, folks, is why we are cooking the planet, since CO2 is a greenhouse gas — it absorbs heat. Don’t take my word for it. This data is publicly available info.

    2. Sure climate changes naturally….. but typically over thousands of years, not within a single century. Have fun blindly carrying the banner for the fossil fuel industry though.

      As morbid as it sounds, I hope you live long enough to realize how wrong you are.

      1. Well, where thousand years where needed to change climate “naturally”, human did it in a bunch of years… Nice work, guys! Go ahead: kill humanity. After all, it would be the best that could happen to the planet… 8X

        1. You people are hilarious. We have only been recording temperatures for the last what, 130 or so years? And even then, the temperatures we were (and are, for that matter) recording could not have been that accurate. Your “science” is just another religion and just as full of confirmation bias as any other faith.

    3. I love the kind of statements you make.

      You are absolultey right, human beings are not the cause of climate change. Heck you may even believe that human beings make absolutely no valid contribution the the climate and I’ll add the environment. When you do, check the distribution of radioactive particles around the planet. They suddenly and recently seems to be showing up, everywhere across the surface of the planet in small amounts. Also check out the Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) distribution in the atmosphere and it’s link to the Ozone hole. The nice thing about the CFC model is that the chlorine compounds in the atmosphere are 99% put there by humans.

      Here’s a real question for you Macinfo, to contemplate is what doesn’t cause, or what doesn’t contribute to climate change? Heck even the plants contribute to climate change, where do you think all that oxygen came from?

      You said “there is absolutely nothing we can do to control nature.” and by all means, I’d just love to find out exactly who this “we” you are referring to that you insinuate is not only separate from nature but unable to control it. I have yet to meet an entity that is separate from nature but I sure meet a lot that talk like they are.

      Oh and the “Chances are the attempts will make things worse” is something you don’t have to worry about, the nice thing about the environment is that it can change but it cannot be destroyed. Space is the environment, the atmosphere of the planets is the environment, the universe is the environment.

      Think about this.

      1. Hey Road. Many things contribute to climate change, and we don’t know all of them, and are making assumptions that affect the lives of billions of people.. Many of the assumptions today, I think are wrong, global warming, climate change, whatever you want to call it is not fully understood, and may not be anytime soon. The things that governments want to do probably are not going to have any impact at this point and merely cost billions of dollars and make energy unaffordable. Solar and wind are not sources that can be relied on for large energy distribution unless you want to cover the planet in wind farms and solar panels.. That will really be scenic…

        1. Thanks for the reply Macinfo, this post makes a lot of sense. You are right about the nebulous understanding of climate change.

          I doubt that the governments will be able to do anything wise about climate guidance until a real crisis hits, I’m patiently waiting for that.

          I also agree on the solar panel and wind sources at the moment but the future may be different. As these sources of energy continue to move forward, research and development can make them more effective. One idea floating around right now are solar panel roadways (you can google it). This is the sort of thing that may just bear fruit for a more sustainable source of energy in the future. Parts of the planet are already covered with roads, and we are now used to that new scenery so an implementation of this type would actually add a service to an infrastructure that is already there. I don’t like to underestimate human ingenuity.

          My greatest issue about climate change is the number of people on the planet and the resources they consume. Still with all the cities and infrastructure already placed on the planet there are still massive areas where one can do a 360 degree turn and see nothing man made. There is still a lot of scenery out there to enjoy, if you know how to get there.

          Again thanks for your feedback and comments. It’s always a good topic for debate.

        2. Incorrect…there are reputable scientific studies showing that renewable sources of energy (as part of a diverse energy strategy) can both improve the reliability and robustness of the U.S. power grid and significantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels for energy production.

          There is a lot of misinformation and pseudo-science on this forum. It does not matter how tightly you cling you your pseudo-science and denials – nature always wins…physics always wins. We have overfished our oceans. We have polluted our oceans, rivers, lakes and atmosphere. We have created mountains of garbage and torn down mountains in search of minerals. We have obliterated cities with fission bombs and tested much larger fusion bombs that would cause even greater devastation. We have even managed to seriously junk up low Earth orbit with debris. If you do not think that human beings can make planet-changing impacts, then you are blind.

          The Earth’s climate is well damped, yet significant excursions have occurred over thousands of years. Consider a forcing function that results in significant changes in mere decades. Then consider the possible effects of that perturbation. Consider that the ocean reefs, the nurseries for many fish and other sea creatures, are quite sensitive to temperature. Consider that ocean acidity is rising and affecting animals that build their shells with calcium carbonate. Consider the massive amounts of ice melt – Antarctica, Greenland, and glaciers around the world – and imagine the effects when the land-locked ice begins to melt in ever increasing quantities and the glaciers disappear, thus disrupting the cycle that stores and releases fresh water for billions of people.

          It was stated elsewhere on this forum quite nicely, but it is worth repeating. When the potential consequences are catastrophic, then it is wise to reduce the likelihood of that event occurring. We can and should promote renewable energy in this country. It will end up benefitting our economy by reducing oil imports, reducing pollution, and providing solid, new jobs. And it is a much better solution than depending fighting wars in the Middle East and prostituting the values of the U.S. To countries like Saudi Arabia who treat women very poorly and still flog people as punishment.

    4. Jeesh. Of course underlying planetary change occurs. But it typically occurs over huge periods of “geologic time”. The planet is 4.5 *billion* years old, and we know it has undergone huge changes since then.

      Yes, we know the earth had a lot more CO2 *140 million* years ago (!) than today, and even higher concentrations of CO2 from *350 to 600 million years* ago. But humans were not even around for another L-O-N-G time. Humans have been on the planet for about 50,000 years. “Civilization” has only existed for about 6,000 years.

      It took humans 50,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion in about 1830. We are now adding 1 billion humans to the planet every 10 to 15 years. The planet now has over 7 billion people. And we all drive cars, buy stuff from China, want big homes, and desire all the pleasures and creature comforts of civilization.

      The type of acute planetary change that humans have caused in the past 100 years — this is just a few generations ago — is quite distinct from any underlying geologic processes that takes place over very long time periods.

      It is important not to confuse the time scales relevant to human life and geologic processes.

    5. I’m 50 years old. Old enough to remember that in the 1970s, the media was pronouncing that we were heading into an ice age. Multiple cold years, brutal winters.
      So the CO2 took a break for that section of time?
      No.
      CO2 doesn’t do a dam thing, well it does do one thing rather well. Keeps plants alive.

      Remove all that “bad” CO2 and all your plants, trees and crops die.

      Not to mention the latest Global Warming scandal: Temperature data over decades adjusted to show warming trend.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11395516/The-fiddling-with-temperature-data-is-the-biggest-science-scandal-ever.html

      1. Your comment is near incoherent (CO2 is part of the carbon cycle so not bad or good in itself) and you actually quote the Telegraph on a science issue (really?) but you have one valid question, why was it reported that some scientists thought the Earth was going to cool?

        I don’t know why some scientists thought that, but even then most scientists thought the Earth was warming.

        You can scroll down to see both tables and charts of peer reviewed papers from that period.

        Conclusion: the press is very bad at presenting scientific consensus. That would go double for the Telegraph.

    6. While I agree we don’t know enough to say with certainty how much human factors influence climate (we know too little about millions of year global cycles, solar and galactic weather to be this smug IMO), but I applaud Apple’s vision in looking for more sustainable replacements to our limited fossil fuel resources.

      By all means let’s let the market drive the development of innovative new technologies. As the world’s first company valued at over $700 Billion (0.7 Trillion Dollars *woof!*), Apple has tremendous potential to lead the way in developing aesthetically more pleasant alternatives to burning dead dinosaurs. Whatever the larger climate affects, smog is a well documented effect of industry that we could all stand to breathe less of.

      1. That you would just drop that name, without any further info tells me all I need to know about who is “informing” you about renewable energy.

        You know nothing and it shows.

        1. He knows about Solyndra. That makes you wrong.
          Solyndra was a half $billion boondoggle that rewarded Obama’s campaign bundler and illegally allowed him to keep assets that should have gone to the government.

      2. And the investment in First Solar is apparently paying off, seeing as Apple is entering a 25 year contract to purchase solar power produced from a solar farm First Solar is building.

        1. Not quite. Apple is most likely paying for that energy in above market rates. It’s more of a publicity stunt. You could argue that it pays off in company perception which could indirectly benefit revenue but there is no direct monetary benefit.

          1. Hey, George…what will the price of electricity be in five years? ten years? Twenty years? Apple’s ROI on the 130MW of power provided over a couple of decades could be very good. The cost of solar panels is dropping rapidly and reaching parity with grid power. Residential solar power can pay back in less than a decade. You are a fool.

    1. Since Apple is risking its own money, whether or not it’s a good bet will be reflected in their earnings. That’s the way it should be. Risking other people’s money, as Obama did with Solyndra, is a crime. Not just because it was a bad investment – were taxpayers going to get a credit if Solyndra by some miracle became profitable? Not likely.

      1. It’s not a crime. It’s called an investment, a loan, etc., just like a bank would do. The problem with Solyndra is the DOE failed to recognize that it was horribly mismanaged.

        1. Banks traditionally looked very carefully to see if there was likely to be a return that justifies the investment risk. (I say “traditionally” to differentiate between proper risk assessment and the crooked-casino heads-I-win-tails-the-taxpayers-lose of TBTF banking these days.) They used do their due diligence to make sure what they were investing in did have good management and wasn’t a big con. If they were wrong, they lost their clients’ money and were out of a job.

          Governments don’t give a shit about getting a return, mainly just about rewarding their crony friends. How much of his own money did Obama invest if Solyndra seemed like such good deal at the time? BTW, just picking on BHO since he’s in office now. The rest of the scumbags are no better.

      2. But you’re ok with giving huge multi-billion dollar tax breaks to oil companies who (up until last year) were posting record profit after record profit?

        (And yes, the U.S. does that. If I recall correctly, Obama proposed reducing them, but the oil-backed Republicans wouldn’t hear of it).

  2. “The time for talk has passed.” A leftist’s wet dream.

    Modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the left: redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, greater government intervention, regulation. For the left, climate change is the perfect thing. It’s the justification for doing everything the left wanted to do anyway.

      1. Because the Right lives in a world where

        1. Days are 24 hours long, not 8.
        2. The right actually knows that for every solar or wind source, a real electric utility has to build an equal amount of capacity using real energy – like coal or natural gas or hydroelectric – that work 24 hours a day to provide to those who had to have their “solar fashion statement”. So, the real power plants get built out anyway.
        3. Solar is not cost effective versus natural gas or hydroelectric or nuclear.

        The Right actually know the facts. The Left is into being cool and getting its science from Bill Nye and Jon Stewart and universities that do fraudulent science to get big government grants.

        1. Baloney. I’m a conservative, and we just installed solar panels on our house. The system is NOT designed to remove us from the electric grid; it is designed to cost-effectively reduce our daytime energy usage, which costs far more than off-peak (nighttime) usage. My electric bill, even after accounting for my solar panel lease, will be reduced by at least 1/3, probably more like 1/2. And it’s clean energy.

          And BTW, it is utility companies which are putting up solar farms to supplement/replace traditional natural gas/coal energy production. Why? Because trying to build more power plants fueled by either nuclear or fossil fuels is very difficult to get done and those plants are FAR more expensive than solar plants.

          I am on the Right, and I know the facts.

          1. Actually, nuclear is far cheaper than solar. It doesn’t look like it when you think of Billions of dollars, but the output of a single reactor dwarfs that o f a solar panel by orders of magnitude.

            The end result is that nuclear is much cheaper per MWh and it can run at full capacity 24/7. Even with maintenance outages it is capable of >90% capacity factor.

            1. When you account for spent nuclear fuel containment costs, nuclear is not even close to being cost competitive. It is certainly not renewable. But economically there is no question. That’s why there have been practically no nuclear powerplants built in the last 40 years. Tragic and irreversible incidents like Chernobyl, 3 Mile Is., and Fukushima don’t help either. Did you add those emergency cleanup costs to your nuclear economics?

              In the short term, natural gas seems like the best energy source for industrial-scale electricity. However, it already is being undercut in price in some regions by renewables. Geothermal, solar, wave, and wind power are all vastly better economically in the long run. Why not create some jobs and retire the dirty coal and oil energy systems that are no longer cost competitive for electrical power generation?

            2. Look up Molten Salt reactors–still born because there is no weapon grade fissile Plutonium production. If allowed to be developed molten salt reactors using uranium and if wanted thorium would burn most of the current waste now produced with current technology.

              Dan Kurt

        2. I don’t think I at any point said solar energy is available 24 hours a day.
          A lot of power stations power up and down depending on demand so working in tandem with other sources is just an extension of that.
          I’m pretty sure fossil fuel stations are much more efficient and cost effective now than they were when they first came in. Probably because money was spent on developing them as demand grew. If someone can crack improved efficiencies of things like solar then there’s money to be made surely?
          I’m not saying that there is no place for fossil fuels, or that renewable technologies will definitely improve. I also don’t tend to like to polarise people into Left and Right because I don’t for one second believe that everyone on either side is exactly the same, but so many people on the so called right seem to be against it for no other reason than just because.
          I don’t pretend to know enough about any electricity generating technology, but to just be against something for what seem like very vague reasons seems stupid.

    1. Boo! What a skewed perception of the world. Ensuring a healthy world for our children is the reason people work toward using renewable energy. Time to get with the program and leave this name calling and divisiveness behind.

    2. Blind opposition to alternative fuels = don’t want to decrease dependence on oil = supporting terrorist states.

      There, that should be language that radical righties can understand.

    3. Some nerve you have, complaining about “redistribution of wealth”, when you have no problem with the way it is being redistributed up right now. By the end of this year, over 50% of the world’s wealth will be held by 1% of the population, for the first time in history. What do you call that if not redistribution of wealth?

      Why do you only complain about redistribution of wealth when it happens one direction, but not the other? Wealth is redistributed all the time through man-made forces – why not bring pragmatism and ethics and to this existing process?

  3. I always admired Tim Cook, apart from anything else because I always thought he was one of the hardest working CEOs around, dedicating every waking minute to the cause of Apple.

    But I guess I was wrong; he obviously has far too much time on his hands.

  4. I suspect this may have as much to do with power reliability as it does with it being “renewable”. Many datacenter operators are concerned about the aging power infrastructure and as commercial and residential demand on the grid is increasing many businesses are investing in co-generation type of facilities to ensure they have access to power even if public utilities fail. I think this is a very smart move by Cook and Co to ensure “uptime” in Apple facilities by not putting all their “eggs” in one basket.

    1. Good observation…and it isn’t only Apple who’s starting to make moves like this – – I’m aware of a Fortune 50 company who (fairly recently) realized that both their data centers are on the same grid “box” and are now in the process of planning on closing one of them and relocating it to elsewhere within the country. Granted, this isn’t as good as buying a “DIY Power Supply” solar farm, but it is another example of a (large) corporation making a not-insignificant capital investment due to the growing inadequacies of the national infrastructure.

  5. I like the move to build solar- anything to reduce reliance on fossil fuels is a good thing in the long run. Huge investments will ulimately lower the cost of PV technology. I do not agree that “the debate is over” about climate change. The bottom line is these debates depend heavily on modeling estimates; we cannot compare modern measurements to measuring stations in the past which did not exist. Many models have been which like statistics can be sliced, diced and interpreted widely depend ones point of view, agenda, funding source etc. There have been many hot and cold periods that have nothing to do with mankind. There have been efforts to minimize discussion about previous hot periods. We need more scientific- not political debate about this

  6. I want to comment on this story in the message boards because i know there are going to be so many that will deny we affect climate change. but, its a wasted fight, and what i should keep in mind is that there is one person who believes we are changing the world….and that person is Tim Cook. So, food for thought for both sides!

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