Facebook chose to power its new $750 million Newton Data Center in Georgia with 100 percent renewable energy from solar power that will be developed by the Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC). The datacenter is expected to consume 150 megawatts of power, which is equal to 20 percent of the utility’s current load.
Despite the high consumption of electricity at the datacenter EMC said it is designed to use 38 percent less electricity than the average data center and will consume 50 percent less water than the average datacenter. It also will use outdoor air, rather than air conditioning, to cool the datacenter and its machinery. Facebook, like many of the world’s leading IT companies are powering all of their operations with renewable energy or moving towards that goal.
“We are committed to powering our data centers with 100 percent clean and renewable energy, and finding strong partners that can help us achieve that ambitious goal is a key part of our selection process,” said Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy at Facebook. “We are excited to work with Walton EMC to bring hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy to the electrical grid in Georgia.”
The size of the solar project or projects that will power the datacenter was not disclosed. But EMC said it will install hundreds of acres of solar panels and connect them to the grid under a power supply agreement with Facebook. Other datacenters like those operated by Apple or Google are being powered by solar farms as big as 200 megawatts.
“We are happy that we could guarantee the renewable energy solution that Facebook was searching for,” said EMC CEO Walton Lee. “And we are pleased to be partnering with them on a power supply arrangement that can serve as a positive economic and environmental template for future industrial developments throughout the nation.”
EMC also partnered with Morgan Stanley, its wholesale energy supplier on the deal. Lee said the agreement with Facebook is a first. The co-op said the community-supported solar energy program can serve as a model for electric utilities nationwide.
“Morgan Stanley is extremely pleased to partner with Walton EMC and Facebook on this important, landmark transaction. This innovative transaction demonstrates our commitment to helping our clients secure low-cost, clean energy through market-based solutions,” said Jay Rubenstein, head of the North American power and gas business at Morgan Stanley.
The datacenter itself will create roughy 200 jobs. The solar farms that will power it will also create hundreds of jobs during their construction.Tweet