NEWS: Apple and Hawaii go for 100% Renewable; AEE Members Make Headlines

Posted by Lexie Briggs on May 15, 2015 10:46:20 AM


Advanced energy companies, as well as companies that are not focused primarily on energy, are forging partnerships that will fundamentally change the way we are powered. This week we saw important updates from several of our AEE members, as well as some continuing coverage of Hawaii’s race toward total renewable energy and Apple, which seeks to change the game… again.

Apple announced early this week that the company’s manufacturing supply chain will be entirely powered with renewable energy: solar, wind, biogas, fuel cells, geothermal, and small hydropower plants. Apple’s commitment to advanced energy isn’t new: as of 2014, all of Apple’s U.S. data centers and corporate facilities are powered by renewable energy, and recently the company entered what was hailed as “a really big deal”: a partnership with AEE member First Solar to purchase $850 million-worth of solar power. Adding the supply chain to the equation is a whole new bushel of apples, though. Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog reports that Apple’s supply chain uses 60 times as much power as the company’s facilities.

“This won’t happen overnight—in fact it will take years—but it’s important work that has to happen,” said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook.

Speaking of 100 percent renewable capacity, Hawaii’s legislature just passed a bill that includes a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that goes to the max. HB 623, which is headed to the Governor’s desk, sets a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Hawaii is a leader in advanced energy: Pacific Business News reports that Hawaii currently produces 21 percent of its power from renewable sources.

“Hawaii is proving to the rest of the country that renewable energy can be cheaper, cleaner and can help consumers to cut their electric bills down to near-zero,” said state Representative Chris Lee to Utility Dive. “Moving to 100 percent renewable energy will do more to reduce energy prices for local residents in the long term than almost anything else we could do.”

It’s also been a big week for AEE member companies. Sungevity continued its expansion in Europe by partnering with European utility E.ON. Sungevity will be able to bring its expertise in residential solar systems to a country with one of the most advanced solar profiles in the world. Germany is a “highly educated market […] ready for a mass offering,” CEO Andrew Birch said in an interview with Greentech Media. “We’ll partner with a utility with reach and trust, combined with our scalable platform, to massively scale solar.”

Here in the U.S., Philadelphia’s Navy Yard has chosen AEE member Landys+Gyr to install a smart grid system on the 1,200-acre development. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp, the public-private development corporation renovating The Navy Yard, selected Landys+Gyr to help it “realize a new energy vision” by “completely modernizing the energy systems,” according to Will Agate, Senior Vice President, Navy Yard Management & Development at PIDC. Landys+Gyr will deploy Gridstream, a system that will integrate The Navy Yard’s energy storage systems, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and more. “We’re really one of the forerunners in terms of deploying these various forms of distributed generation,” Agate said.

Meanwhile, AEE member Retroficiency has partnered with four utilities – AEP Ohio, Kansas City Power & Light, Puget Sound Energy, and United Illuminating Co. – to improve and spread its energy analytics platform. With Kansas City Power & Light, the company will identify retrofit opportunities for medium- to large-scale commercial customers, with the help of CLEAResult, another AEE Member.

Here’s another example of AEE members working together: SunPower and Stem announced a new partnership to offer solar-plus-storage to SunPower customers. Solar-plus-storage has been a huge topic in recent months, with more and more companies – and customers – looking to pair the two advanced energy technologies to great advantage. “Our customers are asking for these solutions,” said Ivo Stelac, SunPower’s general manager of residential and commercial energy solutions.

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Topics: News Update