image Special report: Apple’s ground-breaking bet on its clean energy infrastructure, with exclusive photos

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Last week a utility in North Carolina announced something seemingly mundane on the surface, but it was a transcendent moment for those that have been following the clean energy sector. Duke Energy, which generates the bulk of its energy in the state from dirty and aging coal and nuclear plants, officially asked the state’s regulators if it could sell clean power (from new sources like solar and wind farms) to large energy customers that were willing to buy it — and yes, shockingly enough, thanks to restrictive regulations and an electricity industry that moves at a glacial pace, this previously wasn’t allowed.

For years Duke Energy largely ignored clean energy in North Carolina (with a few exceptions), mostly with the explanation that customers wouldn’t pay a premium for it. But turns out when those large energy customers are internet companies — with global influential consumer brands, huge data…

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