In December 2013, when Facebook was seeking a location for its newest data center, a deciding factor was the potential to help develop a new wind farm. The social media company managed to satisfy this desire in Altoona, Iowa where Facebook is building a data center and partnering with MidAmerican Energy.
Facebook announced that it’s building a massive new data center in Fort Worth, Texas, and that the facility will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The social media company also announced that it plans to draw 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2018.
“We worked with Citi Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group to bring 200 [megawatts] of new wind energy to the Texas grid as part of this deal,” Facebook’s vice president of engineering Jay Parikh said. “The wind development will be 17,000 acres, located less than 100 miles away.”
According to CNBC, Facebook is investing $500 million in the project.
Like its Altoona, Prineville, Forest City and Lulea data centers, Fort Worth is part of Facebook’s effort to make its data centers run on 50 percent renewable energy by 2018, and eventually 100 percent renewable. Facebook says that it saved more than $2 billion in infrastructure costs over the last three years thanks to this effort, and that the carbon impact of one person using Facebook for an entire year is now equal to the carbon impact of a medium latte.
“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,” Greenpeace senior climate and energy campaigner David Pomerantz said.
Amazon’s Ohio data center, for example, relies on American Electric Power, which generated 83 percent of its electricity from coal.
As part of its effort to make the entire industry more energy efficient, Facebook also shares the designs for its data centers through the Open Compute Project, which the company says now has more than 200 members collaborating on sustainable data center technologies.
Facebook says it has begun construction on the Fort Worth data center, and that it should be online in late 2016.