Facebook and Google like, +1 clean energy in data center expansions

by David Pomerantz

April 23, 2013

Wind turbines on the Story County 1 Energy Center, just north of Colo. Each turbine has a 1.5-megawatt capacity and contributes to generating electricity for up to 75,000 homes. The NextEra Energy-owned wind farm has been in operation since 2008.

© Karuna Ang / Greenpeace

The race to be the cleanest and greenest in our virtual world is definitely on. Facebookannounced today that it is building another data center, a big one, this time in the windy state of Iowa, which currently leads the nation in electricity generated from wind with an eye-popping 25 percent!

We expect that Facebook plans to bring even more renewable energy than that on the grid to help make their goal of a 100% renewably powered Facebook a reality.

Just a few days before, Google announced the expansion of its data center in North Carolina, also revealing that ithad gotten Duke Energy to agree to offer a new renewable class of electricity service to large customers in the state. Thats a potential breakthrough; Dukes current energy mix is powered by only .2 % renewable energy in the Carolinas, a stark contrast to Googles goal of being 100% renewably powered.

Facebook’s latest announcement shows that it is taking its commitment to renewable energy and its new siting policy seriously.In Iowa, Facebook has chosen a location where it has great potential to power its newest data center with the wind energy that is booming there, but it will have to follow Googles example and use its influence and buying power to get Iowas major utility, MidAmerican Energy, to provide more clean energy to the grid.

Facebook, Google, and other major Internet cloud companies like Apple, Salesforce, and Rackspace are fast moving and fast growing, but they have heard from you, their customers, that renewable energy is important to them, and have committed to grow in that direction. These companies are building theirdata centers with clean energy in mind, which sends a clear signal to utilities and government officials that renewable energy is not only possible, but also smart business in the 21st century economy.

Let Facebook and Google know you want to see more renewable leadership by sharing this great news on Facebook and Google+ at the bottom of this page!

David Pomerantz

By David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is a former Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in San Francisco. He helps lead Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

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