Apple, Google lead fight against US repeal of Clean Power Plan

Apple, Google lead fight against US repeal of Clean Power Plan

Apple has voiced its opposition to the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The world’s most valuable company has said in a filing that it believes a repeal of the plan would jeopardise the US’ position in the race for clean energy investment, handing the advantage to China, which already leads the market.

The UN reports that global investment in renewable energy far outstripped investment in fossil fuels last year. Since 2004, global investment in green energy sources has hit $2.9 trillion, with China leading the way with $86.5 billion invested in solar power last year alone.

Apple believes that any repeal of the US plan would threaten the progress and investments that it and others have made in renewable power. Apple claims to run all of its US operations on renewable energy, from wind, solar, and other green sources.

In October 2017, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt made it a policy priority to reverse the Obama-era programme to curb greenhouse gases, which aims to cut pollution from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In December, the EPA launched a comment period for a possible replacement to the plan, details of which have not been forthcoming.

Apple is the first company to publicly oppose the EPA’s proposed repeal ahead of the April 26 deadline for comments.

Internet of Business says

Apple’s move is significant, but it is far from the largest user of clean energy. That accolade goes to another technology company: Google. Last year, the Alphabet division agreed to buy three gigawatts of output from clean-power plants worldwide. That was more than double the amount used by Amazon, the next biggest green energy consumer.

Last year Google matched all the electricity it consumed with purchases from wind and solar energy resources, hitting its 100 percent renewable energy target and purchasing more clean energy than it used.

At three gigawatts, Google’s green power usage is now equal to that of the next three biggest users combined: Amazon (1.2 gigawatts of clean power), Microsoft (1.2), and Facebook (0.8). Apple also uses 0.8 gigawatts of clean power.

This year, Google plans to build five new data centres, which means its commitment to clean energy will grow even larger.

The next biggest users of clean energy are Norse Hydro, Walmart, the Australian government, and the US Defense Department, all on 0.07 gigawatts of clean power.

Opposition from tech companies to the EPA’s proposals could be highly significant, therefore, but President Trump’s known dislike of Amazon is likely to counterbalance any involvement in the debate by Jeff Bezos’ company.

Read more: Smart energy: Why vehicle-to-grid technology is on the move

Read more: WaveRoller energy: Why the sea is the world’s biggest battery

Read more: Q&A | SAP’s Henry Bailey on the Cloud for Energy

Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is former editor of Internet of Business, and now a key contributor to the title. He specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, blockchain, and technology strategy. He is also former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, The Inquirer, and Blockchain News, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools. Chris has also chaired conferences on robotics, AI, IoT investment, digital marketing, blockchain, and space technologies, and has spoken at numerous other events.