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What Apple’s Energy Commitment Means for Waukee Data Center

WAUKEE, Iowa -- Like all their data centers, the sprawling 400,000 square foot data center to be built in Waukee will run entirely on green energy; that falls in line with Apple’s recent announcement that their entire company is now powered by 100% renewable fuel.

“We're pleased to have Apple and we really appreciate their philosophy towards sustainable energy” said Tim Moerman, Waukee’s City Administrator.

With the site scheduled to come online in 2020, Apple hasn't yet announced how they will accomplish that.  By 2019, Mid-American energy plans to be supplying 90% of their customer's electricity with wind power, so Apple could tap into that.  In the case of other Apple sites they use rooftop solar panels, biogas fuel cells, and in some cases they have partnered with local utilities to build wind and solar farms.  Apple currently does not have any public plans to do construct additional facilities in Iowa.  Iowa economic leaders say already having the renewable infrastructure in place makes the state desirable to large companies.

“We use it as a calling card, so we attract companies like apple, and there's many others who want to source all their energy from a 100% renewable basis; so it's not surprising that Apple chose Iowa to make such a significant investment” said Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority Debi Durham.

That means a better chance at job creation.  While she says it may be harder for manufacturing plants to run off renewable energy, Durham says Iowa was a finalist for Toyota's new facility because of the state's clean energy grid.

“They looked at our energy plan as being this gold standard, so we are attracting more and more companies that want to source their energy on a green platform” said Durham.

As far as the Waukee site goes, officials there say it's so early in the game that how Apple will go 100% green isn't a concern.

“It's a long planning process that they're going through right now to get ready to do the construction, so we're just waiting for them to let us know what their plans are” said Moerman.

The Iowa economic development authority says that the Microsoft, Google, and Facebook data centers are also starting to transition to 100% renewable energy.