Apple Invests in New Wind Farm in Australia to Address Device Charging Emissions

Apple will invest in the development of a new renewable energy plant in Australia to compensate for the emissions generated by consumers charging their Apple devices.

In a press release published on August 11, the company said it would invest in the Upper Burdekin Wind Farm in Queensland, Australia, as part of its plan to achieve carbon neutrality across its value chain.

By the time the wind farm becomes operational in 2026, it should provide enough energy to power some 80,000 homes. Apple will also receive energy from the wind farm.

“We recognize the urgent need to address the climate crisis, and we’re accelerating our global work to ensure our products have a net-zero climate footprint across their entire life cycle,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, said in the press release. 

“We are proud to play a part in Australia’s transition to a cleaner energy grid, and thrilled that Apple will soon support Australian customers’ use of their favorite products with clean energy.”

Apple says its operations have been carbon neutral since 2018 when they first became completely powered by renewable energy, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But operations cover only a portion of a company’s emissions, known in technical terms as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

Scope 1 emissions are those generated by assets owned by an organization, like its offices. Scope 2 emissions are created indirectly, for example, by the power plant it purchases electricity from.

But to achieve carbon neutrality, companies also have to cut or balance out their Scope 3 emissions, those generated across their value chains—by suppliers, employees and customers using its products. For a company like Apple, its suppliers, deliveries and customers’ use of energy to power products are likely to make up a substantial chunk of its carbon footprint. 

Apple’s latest green energy investment in Australia is the company’s latest step to inch closer to achieving neutrality across its Scope 3 emissions.

In its 2020 Environmental Progress Report, Apple announced plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030—including for Scope 3 emissions. The company said it would cut emissions by 75 percent by that year and develop innovative ways to counterbalance the remaining 25 percent of its footprint.

The Queensland wind farm is Apple’s second investment aiming to address the Scope 3 emissions generated by customers charging their devices. In April 2022, Apple also announced it would fund the development of a 2,300-acre solar project in Brown County, Texas. 

Apple announced its investment on the 40th anniversary of its arrival in Australia alongside other social responsibility projects. The company said it would also work with local universities to expand coding education programs and create new partnerships with Australian indigenous-led nonprofits in indigenous communities to advance equity and opportunity.

“We’re proud to celebrate Apple’s long history in Australia, and to deepen our shared commitment to protecting the planet and creating opportunity in people’s lives,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said in the press release. “We’ll continue working together to make the world a more equitable and just place for all.”

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