Continuing its green efforts, Apple has received permission from North Carolina’s Catawba County to set up a renewables plant which will generate power from landfill gas.

According to local paper the Hickory Daily Record, the 16-year lease agreement, signed on Monday by the county’s Board of Commissioners, will provide Apple with approximately 3.7 acres at the Blackburn Resource Recovery Facility in Newton.

The facility will trap the methane gas given off from the landfill site and either convert it into pipeline-ready gas or use it to generate electricity. The method has super-green credentials, for not only producing power from waste but also for preventing the release of methane (a greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere.

The rent will cost Apple $5,569.50 (approx. £3,900) each year for the first five years, after which it will fluctuate – although never dipping below the original amount. After 16 years, Apple will be given the option to extend the lease by an additional five years.

The county also agreed to sell 40% of its landfill methane to Quadrogen Power Systems, which will treat the gas before it is put to use by Apple. The remaining methane will be used by the county for local energy requirements.

County Attorney Debra Bechtel commented, ‘We’ll be able to say we were involved in hopefully developing the next great energy source that is clean and safe for citizens across the entire country.’ She added that the county would not be investing any tax money into the project – ‘There are no dollars out of the solid waste enterprise fund that are being involved. In fact, all the county is getting out this are benefits.’

While the Daily Record did not comment on what Apple plans to use the energy source for, the tech giant owns a large data centre in the county which could receive the landfill power, in addition to its solar and biogas provision.