Facebook Changes from buyer of Cheap Coal Power to Pushing for Renewable Energy

Wired's Cade Metz has a post on Facebook's frustrated efforts to buy renewable energy for its data centers.

FACEBOOK’S NEW DATA center will run entirely on wind power. This means three of the five massive computing facilities that will drive the company’s worldwide social network in the years to come will run use only renewable energy. But Peter Freed, who helps oversee renewable energy efforts at Facebook, isn’t entirely pleased. Buying clean energy, he says, remains far too difficult.

“It should be easier to get these kinds of things done,” he says, “and we’re seeing an increasing number of companies that want to do them.”

Facebook has come a long way from when it built its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, choosing coal power in Oregon.  Why coal?  Because coal power was more abundant, therefore lower cost than hydropower.  The attention from this event covered by Matt Stansbery and then others helped to make Facebook the target of Greenpeace.

Now Facebook is considered part of the renewable data center leaders - Apple and Google are the other two.

And others play catch up like Amazon.

On Monday, in the wake of Facebook unveiling its latest data center site in Texas, Amazon announced that it will open a 670.000 MWh wind farm in North Carolina. The turbines are set to start turning in December of next year.