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Apple signs deal to harness energy from landfill gas in North Carolina

A Jenbacher engine similar to the kind used at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility.

Continuing the company's efforts in green energy, Apple and North Carolina's Catawba County have reportedly signed a 16-year lease agreement that will let it build a plant generating power from landfill gas.

The county's Board of Commissioners approved the lease on Monday, according to the Hickory Daily Record. Apple will get about 3.7 acres at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility in Newton, paying just $5,569.50 in rent per year for the first five years, after which prices will be allowed to fluctuate — though never below the original amount. After the initial 16 years, Apple will have an option to extend its lease by five more.

In a related agreement the county agreed to sell about 40 percent of its landfill methane to Quadrogen Power Systems, which will treat the gas for use at Apple's facility. The remaining methane will be used by the county for other energy purposes.

County Attorney Debra Bechtel noted that the county isn't spending any tax dollars on the project, and will even be able to avoid buying another engine to extract energy from the gas, at least in the near future.

The Daily Record didn't say what Apple intends to use the extra energy for, but Catawba County is also the site of one of the company's bigger datacenters, which it currently powers with a mix of solar energy and biogas. Tapping into an additional source should allow Apple to keep the complex powered by renewables.