Greenpeace Criticizes Facebook for Data Center Not Using Renewable Energy

by | Feb 22, 2010

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PacifiCorpPowerPlantGreenpeace is leading a campaign to get Facebook to change its strategy to power its planned data center in Prineville, Oregon, with renewable energy instead of coal by rallying support from Facebook users. Facebook plans to build its highly energy-efficient data center on a cloud computing platform that is expected to lower energy consumption.

Greenpeace is urging Facebook users to join a Facebook group titled “Tell Facebook to use Clean Energy for its Data Center,” reports Zikkir Technology News.

While some companies have chosen Oregon due to its abundant hydropower, Facebook has decided to get its power from PacifiCorp, a power company that generates the majority of its electricity from coal-fired power stations, instead of hydropower because it is expected to have higher rates by the time Facebook completes its construction in 2011, according to Greenpeace.

PacifiCorp operates 10 thermal electric units that generate electricity from coal, geothermal or natural gas resources, and is part owner of six other thermal plants. Together, these plants account for more than 83 percent of PacifiCorp’s generation capabilities, according to the company’s Website.

Greenpeace says data center’s can be powered by renewable energy citing Yahoo’s data center near Buffalo, New York, that is powered by hydroelectric power, which helps decrease the data center’s carbon footprint, reports Greenpeace via the Huffington Post.

Greenpeace says Facebook should be championing clean energy solutions, and not relying on dirty fuel sources to power its new data center.

In response, Facebook cited the data center’s highly energy-efficient design standards and equipment specifications.

Facebook also stated, “The suggestions of ‘choosing coal’ ignore the fact that there is no such thing as a coal-powered data center. Similarly, there is no such thing as a hydroelectric-powered data center. Every data center plugs into the grid offered by their utility or power provider,” reports Zikkir Technology News.

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