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Apple will turn landfill gas into sweet electricity

While everyone obsesses about headphone jacks, Apple's becoming a power company.
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Apple has been given permission by North Carolina to build a facility that uses the methane emitted from landfill waste to create electricity. The plant, which will be based in Catawba County, will stand for 16 years, with the option of a five-year extension should the parties agree. As 9to5Mac explains, it's an energy method that both generates power from waste and prevents the release of methane into the atmosphere. The news comes less than a day after the firm was given permission to begin reselling energy to power companies.

A few years ago, the firm realized that it needed to do more with the environment, and hired Lisa Jackson, former head of the EPA, to lead the charge. Since then, the firm has pushed to power all of its facilities with renewable energy, and now generates 93 percent of its total need from green sources. This number will probably creep closer to 100 percent in the next few years, hence the desire to sell any extra capacity it has to the grid.

As people speculate on Apple's future as a consumer technology company, it's possible to miss a quiet revolution taking place behind the scenes. After all, the firm has interests in mobile payments, health research and cloud storage. It's already making serious bank from its media (iTunes, iBooks) and software stores, plus whatever money Apple Music is bringing in. With vast cash reserves and a commitment to green energy, it's plausible that Apple could become a power company without anyone noticing.

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