Apple has seen the future – and it involves both green energy and artificial intelligence. The Cupertino, California mega-tech company made two moves this past week that will drive its business forward more efficiently and cost-effectively.
First, NV Energy and Apple jointly announced plans on January 25 to install 200 MW of additional solar energy in Nevada by early 2019 in order to provide more renewable energy to needs for Apple’s Reno data center.
Second, the ordinarily cagey company leaked word, per a Bloomberg Technology report on January 25, that it is now ready to join the Partnership on AI, an artificial intelligence research group that already includes Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft among its members.
Why AI? In addition to its support of such “intelligent assistants” as Siri on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices, AI can help reduce energy usage in data centers – an advantage already realized by Google
Indeed, Google reported last July that artificial intelligence had reduced the energy needed to cool its data centers by 40 percent. At the time, the company stated, “…We can use machine learning to consume less energy and help address one of the biggest challenges of all: climate change.”
According to Bloomberg, “Joining the Partnership on AI is the latest sign that Apple is opening up more. The group says it aims to ‘conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license.’”
As for the deal with NV Energy, in the coming weeks, the Nevada utility will file an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the solar power plant. The project will bring NV Energy’s total to more than 529 MW of new solar resources in construction in Nevada or under review for approval. This is in addition to the 491 MW of universal solar resources in Nevada currently serving NV Energy customers. Apple also will dedicate up to 5 MW of power to NV Energy’s future subscription solar program for residential and commercial customers.
“Investing in innovative clean energy sources is vital to Apple’s commitment to reaching, and maintaining, 100 percent renewable energy across all our operations,” said VP for Environment, Policy and Social initiatives Lisa Jackson. “Our partnership with NV Energy helps assure our customers their iMessages, FaceTime video chats and Siri inquiries are powered by clean energy, and supports efforts to offer the choice of green energy to Nevada residents and businesses.”
NV Energy provides a wide range of energy services to 1.3 million customers throughout Nevada and more than 40 million tourists annually.