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Apple partners with Chinese wind-power company to further cut carbon emissions

By Liu Zheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-12-08 20:59

Apple partners with Chinese wind-power company to further cut carbon emissions

Goldwind's wind turbines at a wind farm [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

US tech conglomerate Apple Inc on Thursday announced plans to invest in China's largest wind-power producer – Xinjiang Goldwind Sci & Tech Co Ltd – to establish a largest-ever renewable energy project.

"We're partnering with Goldwind to sign a wind power deal, it's Apple's largest clean energy deal in the world," said Jackson, Apple's vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives.

Jackson sat down with China Daily after the announcement to share her insights about the tech giant's carbon footprint reduction progress in China.

According to her, the deal is Apple's first-ever investment in a wind project, and the first large-scale wind investment in China by a US tech company.

"The investment across four provinces, including Henan, Shanxi, Shandong and Yunnan, will add 285 megawatts of clean energy to China's grid as part of our commitment to reducing the carbon emissions from its manufacturing," said Jackson.

Without elaborating the investment volume, she said that the projects, along with a 170 megawatt solar project the company announced in Inner Mongolia last year, are targeting emissions from upstream manufacturing where Apple doesn't have a direct relationship with the supplier.

She pointed out that the first step for utilizing the renewable energy in China is to get more clean energy on to the grid, known as "greening the grid".

She said Apple has been working closely with the government, especially the National Development and Reform Commission, to replace the coal-driven grid with clean energy.

According to Apple, the overall projects would produce more than 900 million kWhs of power, equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power 690,000 Chinese homes.

As the country's energy mix is currently dominated by coal, China is promoting non-fossil energy including wind electricity to power its economy in a cleaner and more sustainable manner.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the government aims to lift the proportion of non-fossil energy in the energy mix to 20 percent by 2030 from the current level of around 11 percent.

Wind power's share of the overall electricity mix should be increased to 6 percent by 2020, up from 3.3 percent in 2015, said a National Energy Administration (NEA) plan.

However, as China's grid-connected wind power capacity continued to pick up, but the utilization rate was waning after years of capacity expansion, according to the latest data from the NEA.

The growth rate outpaced that of the nation's total power use, a key barometer of economic activity, which totaled 4.5 percent year-on-year for the first nine months, the official data showed.

"We know that matching demand and supply is a concern, not only just in China, we have the same issue in the United States," Jackson said.

But she was optimistic about the project, saying the government was committed to increasing the utilization of the amount of clean energy on the grid, and with efforts by Apple and authorities, the demand will be matched over time.

"We've worked with Goldwind to make sure the projects we were choosing in those four provinces are not areas that have curtailment issues," said Jackson. "We've also intentionally followed the government's guidance that focuses on wind farm planning and constructions."

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