Facebook announced that it will power a new data center in Texas with 100 percent wind energy. Facebook has also committed to setting a new goal of powering its operations with 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018.
Our Fort Worth data center will be our fifth globally, and like its Altoona and Lulea counterparts, this location will be run entirely on renewable energy. In this case, the power will come from wind. We worked with Citi Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group to bring 200 MW of new wind energy to the Texas grid as part of this deal. The wind development will be 17,000 acres, located less than 100 miles away. In 2012 we set a goal for ourselves to reach 25 percent renewables in our data center mix by the end of this year. Over the long term, we plan to get to 100%. We’ve set our next short-term goal to be 50% by the end of 2018.
The Fort Worth data center will be outfitted with the latest OCP technology, including Yosemite for compute and fabric, Wedge, and 6-pack at the network layer. It’s all part of an advanced infrastructure that makes it possible for Facebook to bring its apps and services to billions of people.
This rendering shows the massive physical scale of this effort. It’s a good reminder of the size of our ambitions — we are trying to connect the world. Our data centers are important parts of the core infrastructure necessary to efficiently connect billions of people. We’ve already begun construction and are excited to get the facility online in late 2016.
“Thanks to our continued focus on efficiency and our investments in renewables in recent years, the carbon impact of one person’s use of Facebook for an entire year is the same as the carbon impact of a medium latte,” according to Tom Furlong, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook.
“Facebook’s new goal of using 50 percent renewable energy and commitment to powering its Texas data center with clean wind power demonstrates the kind of transparency needed to show that it is making steady progress toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy,” said David Pomerantz, Greenpeace senior climate and energy campaigner.
Facebook is not the only leader in transitioning its data centers to cleaner, greener energy sources. Google plans to build a data center powered by 100 percent renewables at the soon-to-be closed coal-fired plant in Alabama. Amazon announced last month that it will build an 80 megawatt solar farm in Accomack County on the eastern shore of Virginia. However, as Greenpeace points out, Amazon has failed to be announce how they will power other new data centers coming online.
“Facebook’s announcement draws a sharp contrast to Amazon Web Services, which has failed to explain how it will power its newly announced data centers in Ohio and India, despite the company’s commitment to use 100% renewable energy,” said Pomerantz.
According to Greenpeace: Amazon recently announced new data center facilities in Ohio and India, but did not provide details showing how those facilities would be powered by renewable energy. American Electric Power, the utility providing service to the region where Amazon’s Ohio data center facilities are planned, generates 83 percent of its electricity from coal. Amazon purchased 150 megawatts of wind power from Indiana, presumably to apply to its Ohio data center, but a Greenpeace investigation shows how AWS will demand significantly more power than that in Ohio.
Greenpeace’s most recent report, “Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet,” found that Amazon has failed to provide transparency about how it will keep its commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy, particularly as it expands its data center operations in coal-heavy regions like Ohio and Virginia.
Facebook’s announcement today helps underscore The Solutions Project’s 50-state plan that ditches fossil fuels and transitions America to relying on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.