In a post today on Facebook, the company's Data Centre Energy Manager Vincent Van Son announced that its new data centre in Iowa will be powered solely by wind energy. That's right: Our insatiable hunger for online validation is indirectly helping to develop sustainable energy.
Facebook's fourth data centre—which will join its super-sustainable predecessors in Oregon and Sweden—is currently under construction in Altoona, Iowa, a suburb of Des Moines. But the wind farm itself is located roughly 70 miles north—further out into the sweeping Great Plains, where the winds are plentiful. The farm will eventually contribute 138 MW of power, which may actually be more than needed to operate the data centre—in which case the excess energy will be contributed to Iowa's power grid. The building is scheduled to open in 2015.
Facebook isn't alone in pursuing sustainable ways to power energy-hogging data centres, since Microsoft and Google are exploring similar projects (Wired calls it an "arms race"). And there's nothing wrong with a little rivalry—especially when it comes to a technology that's actually going to benefit the world at large. [Wired; Facebook]