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Bill Davis
Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 21, 2016 at 5:19:27 am

At least Apple is consistent.
Nobody I know or talk too in the Greater Phoenix area had the slightest clue that it was Apple working with our local power company to build this just outside of town.
From the stories that broke on local TV tonight, even the spouses of the workers kept mum about it all.

http://www.cbs5az.com/story/33144115/apple-reveals-huge-solar-project-in-ar...

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 21, 2016 at 7:17:22 am

Huh. The info has been out there for a while, but maybe this is the first time specifics have been released? The rumor mill for solar panels is probably a bit less active than for iPhones. ;)


"Apple says the data center facility in Arizona will be powered completely by clean energy, including new solar plants developed with local utility Salt River Project."
https://gigaom.com/2015/02/02/apple-to-build-2b-solar-powered-command-cente...


"Apple has made plans to sell off extra solar energy produced at facilities in Arizona and other states, according to reports."
http://ktar.com/story/1115942/apple-making-plans-to-sell-off-extra-solar-en...


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Bill Davis
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 7:56:04 am

Well congrats, Andrew.

Your sleuthing has revealed a huge hole in my personal knowledge of Apples plans from years back.

I'm devestated.

It appears that just like the local pro TV reporters filing the story I posted, I was unaware of what Apple was working on out here and that it was general industry knowledge for the "better informed" among us. Two whole stories out of the hundreds (sic) passing by on the Internet in that time period and I somehow missed them. Good catch.

Still Interesting to me how Apple is invested in solar energy generation here in the sunbelt in advance of possible changes in how ... Oh I don't know, "stuff" might increasingly need to be powered in a future less dependent on hydrocarbons for power generation.

Idle speculation for sure.

Nothing to see here.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 4:25:07 pm

There's more than two stories out there, but like I said, it's not as interesting as iPhone rumors so it doesn't get nearly the coverage (for the better part of 15 years Macrumors has been a primary haunt for me and even the most mundane news about Apple generates multipage discussions over there).

For many years Apple got dinged by a 'green report' that Greenpeace puts out annually about clean energy in the cloud computing sector and I think they took the criticism to heart. They've been investing in/building out solar for years, especially at their data centers. I think the first big move was building huge solar farms to power a brand new (well, then brand new) data center in North Carolina (Apple also has solar farms in CA and NV). So when Apple took over the former GT Advanced Technologies plant in AZ and planned to turn it into a data center it only made sense that it would be solar powered (GTAT made synthetic sapphire, which Apple uses for iPhones and Watches, but they had a pretty public falling out with Apple, at least public by Apple vender standards, and filed for bankruptcy). IIRC Yahoo and Google are the next 'greenest' companies on Greenpeace's list after Apple took over the #1 spot.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 5:26:18 pm

On one hand, it's ridiculous to suggest that a reporter should use Google to find basic information before opening their yap. I mean, if reporters were interested in facts, there'd be no news business anyway. Facts are boring.

On the other hand, NOTHING about this was secret. Certainly the governor did what he could, touting a $2 billion investment and up to 650 jobs. The press release is still up on the Arizona governor's web page. The blather about "this is a great day for Arizona" notwithstanding, it WAS a great day for Arizona.

"This is a great day for Arizona, and we have moved rapidly to make this happen and take advantage of Apple's interest in our state," said Governor Ducey. "Apple is by far one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Its decision to bring this new facility to Mesa is a huge win for Arizona and a high testament to our business-friendly climate and talented workforce. This expansion will bring a significant economic investment, and propel Arizona's position as one of the best states in the nation in which to do business. I'm proud to continue our partnership with Apple with this new project."


It was also a great day for fans of renewable energy and high tech in general, and the story was reported widely, around the world.

When GigaOM posted the news in February 2015 ("Apple to build $2B solar-powered “command center” data center at Arizo...), they linked back to an AMAZING story from 2014 about Apple's solar farms in North Carolina.

Among the revelations there is that Apple was using sheep to graze the grass under the panels. Previous attempts to use goats had failed when the goats kept chewing the wires.

So Arizona reporters yapping about "Apple unveiled" and "previously under wraps" are easily demonstrable lies or laziness, depending on the source, and depending on whether you believe reporters should be responsible for using Google before they open their gobs.

The North Carolina story really WAS under wraps, though. Apple had already committed to greener energy, but nobody had really seen what that would mean. Apple was flying under NC radar because what they wanted to do -- sell the excess energy -- was in fact not legal at the time.

Arizona, not so much. LOL They were more than ready. They actually worked on it. As noted, they had in fact been working with Apple on this from the get-go, and were rightly proud at what they'd been able to put together. A nice example of how public-private partnerships are supposed to work.

Oh, if only if only if only there was a way for people who report on these topics for living to look back in time 18 whole months to find if there had been a major wave of announcements....if only....if only.....

(Disclosure: I hate "news". I love green tech. I'm right fond of sheep, but we're only friends.)


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Bill Davis
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 5:37:50 pm

What should have been obvious to me is that I posted a link to a story on local television imagining that local television was still a reliable source for news.

That was "throwback to my youth" dumb.

I should have realized that most of what I see on TV are stories I read 3 days ago somewhere on the net.

My bad.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 6:11:11 pm

[Bill Davis] "What should have been obvious to me is that I posted a link to a story on local television imagining that local television was still a reliable source for news."

Rookie mistake. LOL

Y'know, I've been giving Apple grief about being kind of dull, but, along with my cheerleading an Apple car -- which I still hope they pull off, and still hope is awesome -- it's very easy to leave this story out of the conversation.

(Of course, we're mere hobbyists, so we can hold ourselves to a lower standard. LOL)

Among the folks who've done a great job covering it for the mainstream Apple press is 9to5mac. They've come at it from a number of angles over the years, including a couple of stories earlier this year that I'm surprised didn't create more noise. Worth digging through their archives, but the one that jumped out at me is Apple's application to sell energy directly to consumers.

That is, virtually all the talk so far has been about people who generate excess solar power selling it back to the local utility. Not just big companies like Apple. In some places, like where I live in the California desert, individuals are increasingly able to do it too. But it's complicated. You can't just go monkeying with the grid, right?

In creating Apple Energy LLC (chartered in Delaware to dodge taxes, natch, but run out of Cupertino), some recent filings with the Federal Electrical Regulatory Commission suggests that Apple would like to move in the direction of bypassing the utility altogether.

At the very least, it could work for recharging stations for Apple cars. Here's a nifty article on that tiny slice of the big picture.

But Apple saying, you know what, we can provide power for the homes in this valley less expensively than the local utility can, so can we have permission to pursue that, is very intriguing to me. I can think of 79 bajillion ways that it could wrong, and only about 6 that it could go right....but VERY much worth reading a little more about.

Apple has just become an energy company, looks to sell excess electricity i...

Apple wins regulatory approval to begin selling excess energy from its sola...

And then this from 9to5mac sister site electrek, Apple Energy deeper dive: Is this Apple running its own microgrids or more?

So much wonderful stuff in this one, including the revelation that Apple has a long, long way to go to catch up with Walmart, whose solar output is well more than double Apple's. Hey, it's okay to be in it just for the money, right Sam?

And of course, as Tim Cook noted when stockholders pushed back on Apple's investment in solar, it's okay to not be doing it exactly for the money, either. "If you want me to be doing this for ROI reasons," sez Timmy, "you need to get out of this stock."

(Classic example of why I said in this forum many years ago, while Steve was still in charge, that he should have handed the reins over to TC years earlier. Not that he meets all of what I consider the minimum standards to be, but I still say that TC's a better CEO in every way imaginable.)

So, me being an a-hole again about news and Apple's weak product announcements notwithstanding, this is very, very cool. I really do encourage you to take a quick look at least a couple of these articles.


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Mark Smith
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 8:42:16 pm

Is the Apple Solar farm in Az going to suck up all solar energy in a given area and hurt agriculture like it was feared to do in North Carolina?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 22, 2016 at 9:46:58 pm

[Mark Smith] "Is the Apple Solar farm in Az going to suck up all solar energy in a given area and hurt agriculture like it was feared to do in North Carolina?"

From what I've read Apple is getting it's power from the main power grid and the solar farm's energy is going into the grid to offset the amount of power Apple will be using.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Secrets, secrets.
on Sep 23, 2016 at 1:04:22 pm

[Mark Smith] "going to suck up all solar energy in a given area and hurt agriculture"

You've got to be kidding. Please tell me this is a joke. How do you "suck up" solar energy? With a photon vacuum cleaner?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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