Apple worked with The Conservation Fund in buying about 36,000 acres of private forestland in Maine and North Carolina. It will sustainably harvest some of the timber for paper and pulp mills to package future products. The company also is building two 20 megawatt solar farms with SunPower in China, and the new company headquarters in Cupertino, California is being built 100 percent solar powered as well.
The Conservation Fund’s president and CEO Larry Selzer said, “By all accounts, the loss of America’s working forests is one of our nation’s greatest environmental challenges.” He called Apple’s initiative “precedent-setting.” Over 32,400 acres are on the Mattawamkeag River in Aroostook County, Maine, a refuge for in Maine’s North Woods for Atlantic salmon, bald eagle, northern goshawk and Canada lynx. It borders more than a million acres of conserved lands and interconnected forest crossing the border into New Brunswick, Canada. Reed Forest will remain a working forest for fiber production.
More than 3,600 acres of pine and hardwood forest on North Carolina’s southern coast in Brunswick County will be managed as a sustainable working forest by The Fund. It is adjacent to the 17,000-acre Green Swamp Preserve of high-quality pine savannas and unique plants and flowers. The Working Forest Fund (WFF) puts conservation easements on the land to ensure sustainable harvests and restrict subdividing or converting the land to non-forest use. The WFF uses forest management strategies “to enhance forest health and productivity, wildlife habitat, CO2 sequestration and water quality, while supporting the economic vitality of surrounding communities.”
The two solar power projects totaling 40 megawatts will be built in ABA Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefectures, Sichuan Province of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). At completion Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., Ltd. will co-own them with SunPower and Apple. China promised to increase its non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 15 percent by 2020, with wind and solar capacities at 200 GW and 100 GW respectively. It is hoped that Apple will work with suppliers to power manufacturing operations in China with 100 percent renewable energy.
Hongyuan Huanju Ecological Energy Co., Ltd., (Hongyuan) in Hongyuan County and Ruoergai Huanju Ecological Energy Co., Ltd., (Zioge) in Ruoergai County are currently being constructed. The Hongyuan project has 2 MW connected to the grid using SunPower’s LCPV tracker. It combines single-axis tracking with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto high efficiency SunPower Maxeon™ cells. Completion is planned for fourth quarter 2015 and expected to provide 80 million kilowatt-hours per year while also protecting the ecosystem. It is the first solar project in the ABA region.
The second China joint venture with SunPower, the Shengtian joint venture, with partners Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Sichuan Development Holding Co., Ltd., Leshan Electric Power Co., Ltd., and Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd. is to develop and own at least 3 GW of photovoltaic power plants in the PRC. SunPower committed to a $20 million investment and supplying the solar solutions.
Apple is also developing a $850 million solar farm in California and its goal is to have all future stores and data centers powered by renewable energy. SunPower has collaborated with Apple on six U.S. projects totaling 90 MW in California, Nevada and North Carolina.