Apple "Clean energy" update

Apple rolled out an update that is enabling by default a “clean energy” option.
Basically, when you plug your phone for it to charge, it waits for the moment when your house would more likely receive energy from “clean” (does nuclear count?) sources.
It’s only available in the US it seems but the idea is interesting.

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How would that know? I have a contract with my electricity provider that I only purchase energy from renewable sources, I would say that might be easier to follow even if not perfect.

Update. I found some more information online, as I cannot watch the clip now

It seems to use the local forecast, still curious how they want to achieve that

Same here in France, I have a 100% renewable energy provider. But even for clean energy, I think part of the idea is to charge when the overall demand is low (between 22 in the evening and 5 in the morning?). That way, we’re sure that the renewable energy is available and there are no secondary sources up and running to keep up with demand.
They could also be fetching information from local providers to know when their wind turbines are running, when the solar panels have optimal efficiency, etc…)

I searched a bit and it’s hard to find a clear explanation. Might be green washing from Apple :wink: But the idea is nice.

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And they can guarantee that you in your house only get their power from the net? In Germany thats just impossible as no one can control what is in the mains supply and what I use when I plug in my phone, so I personally had to laugh when I saw the post from Apple today. Maybe part of their mother earth talk they recently had :upside_down_face:


No, my house isn’t provided 100% by renewable energy, that’s true.
But my provider injects in the network the same amount of energy that I consume.
So same thing with Apple, the idea is that they try to charge the phone when there’s a good chance that the energy is clean.
I’m sure that it’s not working for now but the idea is interesting.


Thanks for prompting me to check how my provider (Tauron, Poland) is dealing with that. I have contracted the “eco-tariff” and received a certificate that the energy I use is coming from the renewable sources. Yet, it was two years ago and now when I check the website the similar offer suggests that it is not possible to differentiate sources and instead Tauron will be purchasing eco-credits equal to my consumption. My invoices still list the eco tariff, but I cannot find it anywhere alse on my profile and cannot download the more recent certificate. Well (to be updated)


As long as there is no cable from the provider directly into your house, they cant guarantee such in my eyes, therefore for me this Apple thing (even if a nice idea) is Green (washing) Marketing, especially as the USA so far is not know to be the market leader in climate protection…


While I tend to be cautious with things like this “Clean energy” approach I think it doesn’t make sense to discuss if the electrons that were driven by wind power really reach me or if there are electrons that were driven by a steam turbine powered by coal instead. That would put all contracts for 100% renewable energy in question. (Btw, I remember having seen filters that pretended to send back “black” energy if it arrived at your house, there were some shops that tried to make money with such nonsense many years ago).

What Apple can do is to only charge at times when there is as much renewable energy available in the network as possible. They can do that independently from the individual contract that you have. Imagine I have a contract that guarantees to back my energy consumption with renewable resources (not hard to imagine, that’s actually the case). At any time of the day my provider will be able to feed in as much as I consume. For customers with other contracts that won’t be the case. But in windy and sunny times their share of renewable energies will be much bigger than when it’s dark without wind. So one could even say that if I reduce my own consumption there will be more renewable energy in the network available for people who don’t care. And this is where - if it really works out and isn’t greenwashing only - Apple comes in and saves energy at times when there’s not much renewable energy available, and uses it when it is there.


I just wanted to point out that those contracts dont mean I personally use only green energy, as this is a common misunderstanding in my eyes. And no why would that clarification/discussion put those contrcats in question? Each of those contracts increases the amount of green enrgy in the system.

It absolutely makes sense to shift your power consumption to times with more renewable energies in the available fuel mix. This is energy that might otherwise be wasted as it cannot be stored efficiently within the network itself. At the same time you reduce demand during times of carbon intensive fuel mixes.
If you have an energy contract with variable pricing, this would also usually lower your energy bill as renewable energy is pretty much the cheapest source we have now.

The only question is if doing this for phones - which are in themselves relatively small consumers of electrical energy - makes any measurable difference. But for once I can’t see Apple doing anything questionable here. At worst the impact is negligible, but it is relatively certainly not going to make things worse.
If you’re interested in doing that (manually) for bigger consumers, you can have a look at the hourly energy prices, for example at and either pick the best times or at least avoid the worst times to consume a lot of energy. There are also certain home automation systems available that can adjust to current prices/CO2 intensity automatically. A particularly popular approach is doing that for charging your electric car or running washing machines, electric boilers, heat pumps, etc.


Because people are good at drawing wrong conclusions. One of these often drawn conclusions is that if it’s not guaranteed that I get renewable energies, why should I pay extra money for that? Therefore adding that

is important.

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