Is Facebook the Lightning Rod for Environmental Impact of Data Centers?

DataCenterKnowledge posts on Facebook's 100KW Solar array.

Facebook Installs Solar Panels at New Data Center

April 16th, 2011 : Rich Miller

Facebook has built a large solar array next to its new data center in Prineville, Oregon (Photo: Rich Miller, Data Center Knowledge).

Facebook has installed a large array of solar panels at its new data center in Prineville, Oregon, which will supplement the local utility in providing electricity for the 300,000 square foot facility, which was officially opened at a ceremony yesterday.

For more than a year, the environmental group Greenpeace International has been bashing Facebook over its use of electricity generated by “dirty coal” to support its huge new Oregon data center  – a campaign that continued Friday as Facebook opened the new facility.

The photo Rich has of the solar array on a cloudy day reminded me of a post I wrote 2 years ago on who Greenpeace's first data center target would be.

What is the First Greenpeace Data Center Target? Apple? Google? Microsoft?

TUESDAY, JULY 28, 2009 AT 9:20AM

Datacenterknowledge blogs on how quickly Apple is building its $1 billion dollar data center.

July 28th, 2009 : Rich Miller

apple-ncApple is known for keeping its new technology secret prior to launch.

And, I closed with the following.

How can Greenpeace, not already have a plan in place to address Apple’s data center for its environmental impact?

Now, you could say Greenpeace why not go after Google or Microsoft?  Greenpeace could, but why haven’t they already.  It is not worth it for media coverage.  Going after Apple would get people’s attention.

If not Apple, who else makes sense to go after if you were Greenpeace?

With Earth Day coming up Facebook is the one company as a target for Greenpeace and the rest of the data center industry is relieved.  Facebook is a convenient target being the only data center operator I know that had an option to source hydro or coal power for its data center and selected coal.

When Greenpeace went after environmental impact of PC products they targeted HP, Dell, and Apple.  Is it time for Apple, Microsoft, and Google to feel the attention of Greenpeace or is Facebook the only high carbon impact data center user out there?

I'll be at Green:NET 2011 later this week and will be in this session.


Dirty Data: How the Cloud is Powered and Why it Matters for the Climate

Greenpeace will release a new analysis that looks at leading IT companies (Facebook, Apple, Google, and more) and asks if IT, as it builds out the cloud, will perpetuate the dirty energy issues of older, entrenched industries or will be the innovative sector that creates a business model that prioritizes a future built on clean, renewable energy?

Speakers:Gary Cook - Senior IT Policy Analyst, Greenpeace International