Facebook has become the latest example of a global internet giant tapping cheap and clean renewable energy, with the announcement on Tuesday that it is co-developing a 200MW wind farm in Texas to provide power for its fifth data centre – a $1 billion affair currently under construction in Fort Worth.
The wind farm, which is also under construction on 17,000 acres of land about 90 miles from the data centre, is being developed in conjunction with Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group.
The project is expected to be delivering electricity to the grid by next year, after Facebook agreed to buy enough electricity from it to power its new data centre with 100% wind energy.
“200 MW is more energy than we will need for the foreseeable future, and we’re proud to have played a role in bringing this project to Texas,” said Ken Patchett, Facebook’s director of data centre operations for the west region.
This is the social media giant’s second data centre to be powered by wind energy – Facebook’s Iowa facility also buys energy from a nearby wind farm.
As Katie Fehrenbacher reports in Fortune, Texas and Iowa are two of America’s most successful wind power states, due to a combination of good natural resources, growing demand for power, and existent network infrastructure that can deliver wind energy to areas that use it.
Of the 131MW of wind power added in the US in the first quarter of 2015, 110MW were installed in Texas, and 20MW in Iowa.
Facebook has also taken pains to make its data centres energy efficient, using outdoor air for cooling, in addition to energy-efficient servers and facility designs – all of which it has published so others can follow suit.
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only tech major to be investing in renewable energy generation. Google is another, with major wind farm power purchase agreements in the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and, most recently, San Francisco, in a major deal with NextEra to power its US headquarters with electricity generated at a revamped wind farm in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Google is also one of the major investors behind the planned development of an undersea power line to connect offshore wind farms to the US east coast – the first construction phase of which is expected to begin off the New Jersey coast in 2016.
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