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Apple inks first wind power deal in China

APPLE announced it will partner with Goldwind, the world's largest wind turbine maker, in projects in China that will produce 285 megawatts of wind power.

This marks Apple's first foray into wind power and is its largest clean energy project to date, said Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple.

According to Goldwind, a HK-listed company based in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Apple has purchased 30 percent of equity in four companies to run four wind power projects in the provinces of Henan, Shandong, Shanxi and Yunnan.

The four companies are under Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Goldwind, the announcement said.

"We've been very vigilant about the oversupply problem. So we work with Goldwind to make sure that the four projects we choose are in provinces that don't have a curtailment issue," Jackson said.

Apple is striving to improve the environmental impact of its supply chain, which is responsible for more than 70 percent of its total carbon footprint.

Over a year ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company aimed to make its supply chain in China powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

He promised 2,000 megawatts of clean energy in China alone and 4,000 megawatts around the world.

Apple started with a 40-megawatt solar power project in southwest China's Sichuan Province in 2015, which generates enough power to cover all its offices and stores in the country.

It then backed three solar power projects, which can generate 170 megawatts of power, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region last year.

The wind and solar projects are targeting upstream suppliers that do not have a direct business relationship with Apple, Jackson said.

"These projects will produce more than 900 million kwhs of power, equivalent to the amount of energy needed to power 690,000 Chinese homes," she said.

The clean energy will be added to the grid, so that suppliers can choose to purchase renewable power, she said, adding that, currently, they cannot purchase power directly from Goldwind.

Apple is also happy to see a number of its major suppliers, including Foxconn, Lens, Catcher and Solvay, commit to powering their Apple production with renewable energy.

All the financial backing, both by Apple and its suppliers, will result in the generation of about 1,400 megawatts of renewable energy in China, Jackson said.

"We should help our supply chain become greener and more sustainable. So, instead of giving them fish, we want to teach them how to fish, just like what we are doing here today," she said.


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