Apple Buys Hydroelectric Plant to Power Oregon Data Center

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Apple is aiming to use hydroelectric energy to power its Prineville, Oregon data center, and has purchased a power plant to make that happen. The company recently bought a hydroelectric plant that's under construction near its data center and will use it to generate up to 3.5 megawatts for the facility.

Apple to use water power for Oregon data centerApple to use water power for Oregon data center

Government documents show that EBD Hydro, the company that started the project in 2011, signed over ownership of property related to the power plant to Apple in November, according to The Bulletin.

The isn't the only renewable energy source Apple will have for its data centers. The company already relies on solar and wind power, and has made a commitment to using environmentally friendly power sources when possible.

Apple began construction on its Oregon data center in October 2012, and bought more land for expansion in September 2014. The Prineville data center already covers more than 338,000 square feet and includes facilities for a small staff.

Apple isn't saying what the data center is used for, although there has been speculation that it's part of the system that runs Siri voice recognition.

The hydroelectric plant will be able to help power Apple's data center only part of the year because it relies on water that passed through a canal seasonally. The plant won't generate enough electricity to power the entire facility, but it will make for a nice supplement when it's running.

[Some image elements courtesy Shutterstock]

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Considering Apple's potential plans to expand its Prineville center again, any extra power it can generate will be a welcome find. Apple made a commitment to use renewable energy sources when it can, so it's great to see the company following through.

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Lee Dronick

Hmmmm, very interesting.


Red flag.  I’m not against renewable energy, but I am concerned about Apple getting into non-core operations just because they can.

Contracting with renewable-energy suppliers would be the better route.

Lee Dronick

From the Bend newspaper article that is linked above

  Filings in the Federal Register indicate EBD Hydro transferred the property related to the hydro project to Apple in November. Representatives of EBD Hydro could not be reached for comment on Friday.

There is not yet an hydroelectric plant, Apple only bought the property at the site of the proposed plant. Now the property is a long stretch of land to and from the irrigation canal, the land was to be used as a mill race and some structures, so what else would it be used for? This wouldn’t be some big generating station such as Bonneville or Niagra Falls, it is reported to be enough for a bit over 2000 homes.


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