Great News! Facebook, which reached over 750 million users in July, has started a partnership with Greenpeace to push renewable energy forward in its own operations, among its vast community and throughout the IT and utility industries.
Facebook announced today that its goal is to power its operations, including its enormous data centers, with renewables and encourage other IT companies to do the same.
They will also encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy plants and create ways to for Facebook’s users to save energy and engage their communities in transitioning to clean energy.
“Facebook looks forward to a day when our primary energy sources are renewable, and we are working with Greenpeace and others to help bring that day closer,” says Marcy Scott Lynn of Facebook’s sustainability program. “As an important step, our data center siting policy now states a preference for access to renewable energy.
Another important step will be to work with Greenpeace to put the power of our platform to use for the environment. Greenpeace has been particularly effective using Facebook to spark environmental awareness and action, we are excited to work with them to explore new ways in which people can use Facebook to engage and connect on the range of energy issues that matter most to them – from their own energy efficiency to access to cleaner sources of energy.”
As part of the agreement, Facebook will continue pursuing its Open Compute Project, an industry wide group that’s advancing energy efficiency technologies for servers and data centers. Facebook also plans to engage in dialogue with utility providers about the sources of energy that power their data centers.
“Facebook’s commitment to renewable energy raises the bar for other IT and cloud computing companies such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Twitter,” says Casey Harrell, Senior IT Analyst for Greenpeace International. ‘‘The Facebook campaign proved that people all over the world want their social networks powered by renewable energy, and not by coal. Greenpeace will continue to measure, report and campaign on the sector’s progress to green the cloud.”
Two years ago, Greenpeace enlisted 700,000 activists on Facebook for its global “Unfriend Coal Campaign,” which calls on Facebook to power its data centers with clean energy instead of coal.
The campaign set the Guinness World Record for the most Facebook comments in one day – Greenpeace is the most ‘liked’ environmental nonprofit on Facebook with 3.8 million “fans.”
2% of US energy demand goes to power data centers, such as those operated by Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and other major IT companies that deliver online services. And that demand is expected to grow 12% or more a year.
Videos, pictures and other data are stored in a high tech “cloud” which delivers data to homes and offices in real time. If the cloud was a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world in terms of electricity use.
Last month, we reported that Facebook is siting Europe’s largest server farm near the Arctic Circle in Sweden, because the severe cold will keep the servers cool naturally.
Read Greenpeace’s report, How Dirty is Your Data: